This message focuses on the importance of recognizing that Jesus is our guide, protector, and leader. There are several elements described in this passage from John: sheep know the voice of their shepherd; the Good shepherd guards His flock; a shepherd belongs with His sheep, and anyone else trying to break in will not succeed. The main objective of this message is communication of how we can trust and rely on Jesus.
In the Bible, Christ described Himself as the Good Shepherd, willing to guard us and ultimately laying down His life for us. Other people or other ideas attempt to lead us astray or lie to us about what is most important. Jesus is the only one we should put our trust into and listen to. We can take heart in the truth of what Jesus promised, because He already accomplished our salvation through His death and resurrection.
Bible Passage: John 10:1-10
Do you have any pets? I have one. How do you think I should take care of this animal? I make sure it has food and water, and a safe place to stay. I help it take care of bathroom needs, and I play with it!
My (cat/dog/guinea pig/etc.) knows my voice. If I call (her/him), it knows me and will come, because it recognizes me…and wants food. This creature knows that I care about it and will take care of it. In a tiny way, this is a little bit like being a shepherd.
Do you know what a shepherd does? A shepherd is responsible for taking care of sheep. There are some people who are shepherds now, but in the times of the Bible there were even more of them. The shepherd would guide the sheep to places where they could find grass to eat, water to drink, and a place to rest. Sheep are not always terribly smart, but they learn to follow the shepherd.
They know when he is talking to them and follow along, recognizing that he will lead them to good things. If a wolf or a bear tries to come attack the flock, the shepherd must protect his sheep, and be willing to fight off the predator. Sometimes, the shepherd even acts as a door! See, the sheep would often get herded into a fenced-in space together (show picture if you have one), and the shepherd would lie down right in the opening. Anything that tried to enter or leave the pen would have to come through him first, so he could monitor and make sure all of the sheep stayed safe.
In our Gospel today, Jesus compared Himself to a shepherd. He said that He was the gateway. He is the way to life, and anyone else that might try to stake such a claim is tricking us. We are like sheep, wandering around and needing guidance. We can trust in Jesus to provide for us and to protect us. He said that a good shepherd would even lay down his life for the sheep, and that’s exactly what Jesus did!
We can trust in His promises and rejoice that our shepherd has rescued us from sin and death. We can listen for His voice through prayer, Scripture, and discernment. And we know that He cares. Each of us is precious in God’s eyes, and we can rest assured that He listens when we call to Him, and gives us life. What a blessing! We should thank God for that…
Children’s Prayer Moment: Saying Thanks to the Good Shepherd
Thank you for being the Good Shepherd
Help us to listen for your voice
And to follow you and trust you
We know you will guide us and protect us
Thank you for caring about us
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
In Jesus name, Amen!