In Monday’s post, The Shepherd and His Sheep, the prophet Ezekiel told us the Shepherd’s flock is made up of people. He searches for his scattered flock inflicted with sin.
“All we like sheep have gone astray:
we have turned every one to his own way …”
The Good Shepherd provides the cure as –
“the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
We were a motely flock the Lord Jesus gathered to himself and gave a life of righteousness.
“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd:
he shall gather the lambs with his arm,
and carry them in his bosom,
and shall gently lead those that are with young …
I the LORD have called thee in righteousness,
and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee,
and give thee for a covenant of the people,
for a light of the Gentiles:”
Isaiah 40:11; Isaiah 42:6
Saul’s Story.(adapted from Acts 9)
Saul determined in his heart to rid Jerusalem and all Judea of this new sect that declared the man Jesus as the Son of God. His face was as hard as his heart. One victim of his zeal haunted his mind, Stephen. No matter, he would hunt all these Jesus’ followers down, put them in prison, and even kill them if necessary. He tucked his letter of authority into his belt and rode with a fury towards Damascus.
He smiled as Damascus came into sight, but in that moment his horse halted. Saul fell to the ground engulfed in a light bright enough to blind him. A voice, all could hear, called out to him.
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
Not seeing anyone, Saul asked, “Who are you, Lord?”
“I am Jesus. I am the one you are persecuting. You are fighting against me.”
Saul surrendered to the Lord that day, as the Lord gathered him in his arms, would take his hand, feed him his word, and make him one of his underling shepherds to take the gospel to the flock of the Gentile nations.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd began gathering his two flocks into one. In his words he tells us –
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep,
and am known of mine…
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
them also I must bring,
and they shall hear my voice;
and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd …
My sheep hear my voice,
and I know them and they follow me …”
known of mine:
We can know Jesus by reading about him in God’s word, by the witness of the Holy Spirit, and by experiencing him in our lives.
“And we know that the Son of God is come,
and hath given us an understanding
that we may know him that is true,
and we are in him that is true,
even in his Son Jesus Christ.
This is the true God, and eternal life.”
They shall hear my voice:
Not many today hear the audible voice of our Lord, but we have been given the account of his work, his words, and the indwelling Holy Spirit to speak truth to our hearts. When Pilate questioned Jesus, Jesus answered –
“Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world,
that I should bear witness unto the truth.
Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice …
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit,
that we are the children of God …
God… Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…”
John 18:37; Romans 8:16; Hebrews 1:2
They follow me:
Because we know Jesus, we hear his voice, and hearing implies we follow where he leads. He goes with us and before us. We trust he will feed us truth, carry us when we are weak, keep us, and lead us all the way home.
“And when he putteth forth his own sheep,
he goeth before them,
and the sheep follow him:
for they know his voice …
Then said Jesus unto his disciples,
If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself,
and take up his cross,
and follow me.”
John 10:4;Matthew 16:24
There are still two folds, the goats and the sheep. At the end of time they will be divided. The sheep on the right will inherit the kingdom of God. The goats on the left will inherit the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (See Matthew 25:31-46)
The Lord did not create humans to cast them into hell, but to share in the fulness of his love. He still seeks the lost and scattered sheep.
May we respond as Saul did, “What wilt thou have me to do?”
The Good Shepherd continues to call for his sheep.
“And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying,
This is my beloved Son; hear him.”
Jesus is speaking. Will you hear and follow him?