Sheep are not the brightest of animals and rely on their shepherd for everything. Jesus often referred to people as sheep, as His sheep. We often make stupid decisions and make dumb mistakes. We fall short. But we can (and should) always rely on Him. We need to trust Jesus, not only for our salvation, but in everything. He has given the Holy Spirit to those of us who believe to guide us. In every situation, we should pray. Ask God for guidance. Do as Jesus would do. Love others as Jesus loves us. But we are more to God than just dumb animals. We are all special to Him. Each one of us. Christ is our Good Shepherd and seeks to do what is best for us and to protect us from harm. He delights in each one of us.
Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying:
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.
There is nothing more important to God than our relationship with Him. He wants salvation to come to each one of us. He desires to have an intimate relationship with us. He desires our heart. Did you get that last sentence in the scripture above? There will be more joy in heaven over the one sinner who comes to know Jesus than all who are righteous. Like the prodigal son, When you accept Him, He will come running to you with open arms. There will be a celebration for the lost who are found. How cool is that?
And, as God protects His “sheep,” He will not tolerate those who lead them astray. He will protect the sheep from the wolves.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
[Jesus wants us to discern between those who teach the truth and false teachers. The teachers of the day (Pharisees) were more concerned with their own power and prestige than they were leading the people as God would have them do. They distorted God’s word and Jesus compares them to thieves, robbers and murderers. We need leaders to lead people toward Christ and not lead them astray. Who are the Pharisees of today?]
Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
There is one Good Shepherd to follow. There is one door to enter. That is Jesus, the one and only Son of God. Others come for their own gain, but Jesus came to give His life for us. He took your sin and my sin and nailed them to the cross, died and rose again so that we may live. He is the Good Shepherd because He is the one that true believers will follow. He is the Door. Only through this door do we find salvation. Through this Door we know that we are safe and secure. Through this Door is eternal life for all who come, Jew, Gentile, male, female, every race, no matter what your past is.