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1 I assure you that whoever doesn’t enter into the sheep pen through the gate but climbs over the wall is a thief and an outlaw. 2 The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The guard at the gate opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 Whenever he has gathered all of his sheep, he goes before them and they follow him, because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger but will run away because they don’t know the stranger’s voice.”
Ezekiel, a Hebrew prophet in the dark days of their exile in Babylon, said God promised to be a good shepherd who would “seek out the lost, bring back the strays, bind up the wounded, and strengthen the weak” (Ezekiel 34: 16). Jesus claimed that image. He consistently reached out to those who weren’t sure of God’s love. He healed physical and mental wounds, and specialized in calling the outcasts and the strugglers to follow him.
- Good shepherds had to know their flock’s needs and lead them safely. The shepherd walked ahead of the flock and the sheep learned to recognize his voice. Jesus compared his work to a shepherd’s. In what ways have you and do you let Jesus lead you like a shepherd? Jesus said his “sheep” listen for His voice. How can you listen for Jesus’ voice today?
- Jesus' shepherd image assumed a deep level of trust. Sheep can’t care for their own food and safety; they must trust their shepherd. How much of the hectic pace of your life grows from efforts to make sure you and those you love are safe and provided for? How can learning to trust that Jesus has already provided for the eternal security of all the people you love (including yourself) help you rest in him, to live less hectically and with greater peace?
Loving God, thank you for leading me every day. Even if I struggle to hear your voice, I trust that you’re there as the shepherd of my soul. Help me to find the path you’ve set before me. Amen.
Whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith, or you’re a long-time Christian, we want to do everything we can to help you on your journey to know, love and serve God. The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides Scripture and insights to enhance your journey. If you have a question or comment about the GPS Guide, please send it to [email protected]
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