Jesus, the Good Shepherd
I was in church not too long ago and the pastor was looking at John 10, all about Jesus the good shepherd. There re so many youth today without a shepherd. Then a thought struck me…
“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.” (John 10:7-18)
I suddenly had an insight — a key to the struggles of our youth today: youth today without a shepherd when they leave home. They become lost: following some phoney uni professor, some on-line celebrity or guru, or losing themselves with no one at all except their peers who are equally confused or utterly lost.
What is to be done to protect our youth?
A key to helping them before they leave home: ensure they have the Shepherd — their own relationship with Jesus.
This is not an easy thing to do. I don’t have all the answers, in fact perhaps I have none. I am a parent and I am downloading all I can into my child before he goes off on his own, so that he can make informed choices. And yet, ultimately, I have to let him go…
But I have given him keys
I have not taken for granted that he is saved, though I do think he is; he’s certainly prayed the prayer. I have not forced him to make godly choices but have taught him how to read scripture, and have told him from a young age that we are a product of our choices… He’s had a lot of exposure to Proverbs! I have loved him… this is the most important thing… unconditionally and have told him GOD does too. And I have helped him to understand the Bible — not only Bible stories from childhood, but actual theology, what is actually in the book so he can refute attack. I have helped him to know the Father GOD, creator of the universe. I have introduced him to Jesus GOD’s son. And I have explained how the Holy Spirit operates as GOD too.
And perhaps the most important key of all is that I have tried to leave him alone to relate to GOD his own way. This is the hardest piece as a parent, but absolutely essential, I think, as a shepherd. Jesus came to folk and he allowed them to come to him. But he didn’t always ask them literally to follow… sometimes they had to go to their village, or to their leaders instead. Sometimes he trusted them to “go and sin no more”.
Hireling v Shepherd
Our young people are innocent, but they don’t know it. They are fodder for fools and we the shepherds must enable them to be in the world but not of the fodder. And most of all, we must pray that they will develop their own relationship so that they will be carried by Him when they need him most.
Oh Father, help us to entrust our children to You and to Jesus the good shepherd, and to develop an ear for your Holy Spirit voice: the comforter and the convictor, when they venture out into the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.