TITLE: Sheep To The Slaughter
DATE: December 30, 2018
TEXT: John 10:11-15 – ESV - I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. -
On our first trip to the middle East, our guide, Samuel, said, “People from America are used to seeing the shepherd driving his sheep with a dog running around to gather up the strays. In Israel things are different. Here, the shepherd always leads the way. Just like the Bible says, ‘the sheep follow their owner because they know his voice.’”
Now Sammy was a first-class guide, and he became embarrassed when the next flock we saw had the shepherd pushing his flock along in front of him. Our laughter prompted Sammy to approach the man and ask, “Why are you driving your sheep?” The man, and Sammy, talked for a while, in a tone and tongue that we couldn’t understand.
Finally, with a broad, smug smile, our guide returned to the group and explained, “The man says he may look like a shepherd, and he certainly dresses like a shepherd, but he’s not….
…He’s the butcher. He’s taking these sheep to the market.”
As near as I can tell, that identity mix up has happened throughout history.
We could, without any difficulty, continue on.
You will notice there are a lot of butchers who try to pass themselves off as the Shepherd. They talk a good game and sound like the real McCoy, but they are conmen, butchers.
The question is “How can you tell who is the legitimate Savior?”
The answer is a simple one shared by Jesus, Himself. He tells us, “Take a look at what the shepherd does. If he runs away, he’s not the guy you need. If He stays and gives up His life to save the sheep… well, that’s the Shepherd, the Shepherd and Savior You can trust, whom you can follow.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in this coming New Year there will be many voices calling me to go this way and sending me that way. Grant that I may ignore any and all voices which contradict You. Help me follow the Savior every day. In Jesus’ Name, I ask it. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann, one of my long-ago confirmands. He is singing with three brothers. This song comes from the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html