When a shepherd lies down at night to guard the sheep, guess where the shepherd lays? Right at the door or the gate of the fence or pen. No one can come in or go out without going over or through the shepherd. He guards the sheep all night and feeds them all day. They are under His constant vigilance. He knows His sheep and knows that they can become restless. So the shepherd has to go slow in some cases to stay with the stragglers. He watches over them day and night.
Do you see the analogy? Jesus is the True shepherd who guards His flock. Sheep are absolutely helpless and vulnerable without The Shepherd. If a sheep falls onto its side, it can become turned upside down…and will die if not picked up and placed upright. It will literally starve to death. We of His flock can fall down and be on our backs, helpless and vulnerable. Sheep have been known to just walk right over a cliff and be killed. But the True shepherd won’t let that happen, as long as they are in His fold. And this shepherd gives peace to the sheep…He restores them and makes them lay down in green pastures.
Sheep are also among the dumbest of animals. They must be led to pastures or they will eat the pasture down to and including the roots. They have no natural defenses, no way to fight back, and are slow on foot. The shepherd is invaluable to the life of the sheep. We have one tomcat that we took for our own which was abandoned. He will not let anyone else approach him or even get near him, not even within 30 feet. For some reason, my wife and daughter or my grandchildren can not get close to him. But he knows me and I speak to him in a gentle, caring and soft voice. I am not sure why, but I am the only one who he trusts enough to let me pet him. He loves sitting on my lap and licks my hand and face. The analogy of the shepherd is much the same. The sheep recognize the Shepherd’s voice and will not go near a false shepherd, who teaches you might say, a false gospel.
Another thing about sheep is that against ravenous wolves, they are no match, and don’t have the means to fight back. They are not fast runners and they have no horns with which to defend themselves. So why would any sheep want to leave the flock, and by extension, their local church? Regardless of this, some do. And some wolves, cloaked in sheep’s clothing, or acting as another shepherd, can do much harm to the sheep. And since sheep are not that intelligent, they might fall for anything. However, the true sheep must learn to recognize the True Shepherd. And learn which sheep are of the True Shepherd’s fold.
Generally, the sheep recognize only the shepherd’s voice. They will not respond to any other voice that is not their shepherd’s. They have heard his or her voice often enough to instantly recognize it. But if they leave the flock and go out into the woods, they are in great danger. Not of losing their salvation that the True Shepherd has purchased for them (John 3:16, 10:28-29), but they could be tossed too and froe and be hurt or killed. The shepherd can not easily protect any sheep that don’t remain in the fold. And if we don’t hear the Shepherd’s voice often enough (Bible), then after a while, we might not be able to recognize it. These sheep then might follow any self-proclaimed shepherd. And one that can fleece, not One who brings peace.
And here is a given; no sheep can come into the flock without going first through the shepherd. There is only one way to the flock and into the pen, and this is through the shepherd. There is no other way, there are no other paths, and there is only one door. Any sheep that can do tricks or good deeds still can not go into the fold except by the Good shepherd. And He stands at the door to invite new sheep in and to keep the present sheep safe. He guards this door. In fact, you might say, He is the door. Thieves and robbers can scale the fence, but the Great Shepherd has authority and power to keep them out.
If the flock are the saints and the fence is the church, then whey go outside of this safe and secure environment? He lays down at the door or gate of the pen to protect them. And the True Shepherd literally laid down His life for the sheep. And He has purchased the sheep. They are His, and He is theirs. You must go through the Shepherd to join the flock of the Landowner (God), for you see, our Shepherd is the door. And if you knock, He will open. And you may come in. But only through Him. And with Him you shall remain, forever…in the House of the True and Great shepherd.
Previously published on Associated Content