Is Jesus At The Head? (Follow the Leader)
Text: John 10:1-14 Key for today: I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. – v.14 Listen to this sermon: Introduction “First giving honor to God who is at the head of my life,” – how often have you heard that phrase uttered in church? Growing up in the church I had heard that phrase said Sunday after Sunday. I began to wonder whether the people who were saying it were simply saying it out of habit or whether they truly meant what they were saying. How often have you heard somebody say …
Text: John 10:1-14
Key for today:
I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. – v.14
Listen to this sermon:
“First giving honor to God who is at the head of my life,” – how often have you heard that phrase uttered in church? Growing up in the church I had heard that phrase said Sunday after Sunday. I began to wonder whether the people who were saying it were simply saying it out of habit or whether they truly meant what they were saying. How often have you heard somebody say that phrase but the next time you see them they aren’t necessarily acting like God is at the head of their life? You see, to say that God is at the head, at the forefront, of one’s life one must truly be committed to following after the Lord. Following.
Are we really willing to follow after God? We are very fast to chase and follow after other people, other trends, and other things. We have TV shows, websites, and other publications that are completely dedicated to our hunger of following after celebrities. I don’t know about you but it completely frightens me to see the large amount of followers that some of these celebrities have. A few weeks ago the news media followed and documented everything that the Pope did – speaking, parades, kissing babies – and honestly even that frightens me.
We still hold on to the high school mentality we had back when we were simple teenagers. We want so badly to be a part of the cool crowd that we’ll quickly follow the cool trends and fads. Being able to drink a whole lot is the cool thing so for us to appear to be cool we just have to go out drinking. Why are we that way? Are we still the litte teenager on the inside and afraid not to be cool or hip? So many folks are willing to follow anything but are slow to follow after Jesus.
Is Jesus at the head? Is He really at the head of your life?
The sheep and the shepherd
In today’s text we focus in on Jesus’ parable of the Good Shepherd. Jesus begins this parable talking about a sheepfold. The sheepfold of Jesus’ day was a stone fenced in area where the sheep were kept. These sheepfolds would sit out in wide open fields which meant they were easily accessible to anybody. There was an opening within the fence which served as both the entrance and exiting point of the sheepfold. The gap would have to be blocked off either by the porter, shepherd, or stone so that the sheep could not get out of the fold and so that nothing could get inside the fold. If the opening was sealed by the porter, shepherd, or a large enough stone the only way to enter into the fold would be to climb over, to go through the porter, or to go through the shepherd.
Jesus then turned his attention to both the sheep and the shepherd. Jesus explained the relationship between both the sheep and the shepherd. Jesus said that the shepherd could enter into his sheepfold and the sheep would know him. The shepherd could call his sheep by name and his sheep would know his voice and they would follow the shepherd – they would follow their leader. You must understand something about sheep to understand how important this statement is. Sheep have to be led, but sheep aren’t willing to follow anybody they don’t know. If you want to get that sheep to move he has to know you or else you’re going to have to shove and push that sheep to get it to move. The shepherd doesn’t have to work hard to get his sheep to follow him because they know his voice and will follow him.
The Pharisees were confused by this parable. You see, I imagine they stood around asking each other… “who are these sheep he’s speaking of? Who is the shepherd?” Jesus then spoke plainly to those that stood around in confusion by announcing that He is the shepherd – not just any shepherd but the Good Shepherd! The sheep were initially Israel but later on, John 10:16, Jesus tells that there are more sheep that wasn’t of that fold (Israel) that he would bring in to make one large sheepfold. We, the believers of Jesus Christ, are His sheep and we are a part of His fold. As His sheep we ought to follow after Him – Jesus should be the head of our lives; He should be at the forefront of our lives. We should be following after the Good Shepherd and not get sidetracked.
Danger to the sheep
Sheep, like any other animal, have a habit of getting sidetracked and will wonder off – this is very dangerous for them. There is an extreme danger that Jesus spoke which the sheep face. The dangers facing the sheep were the thieves and the robbers, the hirelings, and the wolves. Understand this about the sheep – they’re not predatory animals but prey animals. Domesticated sheep don’t have a way of defending themselves and would simply flee from danger, but sheep are not evasive animals meaning they are easily captured by predators. What do you believe happens when a sheep wonders off from his shepherd?
If the sheep happens to come across a thief it’s in trouble of being taken away from it’s shepherd. The intent of the thief is to steal and Jesus tells us that the thief will also kill and destroy. The thief has no good intentions for the sheep which makes them incredibly dangerous. If the sheep is under the care of some hired help they face the danger of someone who doesn’t genuinely care about them and is only in it for the money – sheep need to be looked after and cared for. The next danger, the wolves, will come along and instead of the hired help standing and fighting, as a good shepherd would, the hired help will leave the sheep to the wolves. All directions point to destruction if sheep begin to wonder away from their shepherd. This metaphorically speaks to the danger the sheep of the Lord face when they begin to stray away from their leader.
We believers must not have wondering eyes or wondering ears. We must be prudent and listen to the voice of our Shepherd. Be careful of that which you hear and of that which you read – do you hear the voice of Jesus speaking to you in what you hear or read? If not, you should not go wondering off! You see, we have a habit of following after the beautiful sights and the lovely words that sound so good. Don’t let your eyes fool you or let your ears fool you or else you will find yourself coming across the dangers that Jesus spoke of.
During Jesus’ day he were speaking of the Pharisees as being the thieves and robbers. They were getting His sheep, Israel, to follow after their ways instead of the ways of the Lord. We sheep must be cautious of who listen to because their way may not necessarily be that way of our Shepherd. Remember, the thieves and robbers have their own purpose for you! They’re trying to lure you away for their own purposes and cause which only leads to the death and the destruction of the sheep. You will recall that the chief thief, Satan himself, tried to actually lure Jesus away from the will of the Lord by showing Jesus beautiful things and whispering beautiful things into his ear. Don’t let that chief thief lure you away from the sheepfold of the Lord!
Don’t go wondering off because some other shepherd is leading his sheep to a pasture that looks greener than the one you are in. We are beyond fascinated with what others have and become drawn to what they have but you have no idea who they are following. There are many fake and bad shepherds out there that’s much like the like that hired help Jesus spoke of. There have been many leaders who have left their followers high and dry. Their have been many leaders of cults that have led their followers to their death. You should be careful to keep your eyes on the leader and you better make sure that Jesus is the one who you are following. Follow the leader. Follow Jesus. Follow the Good Shepherd.
The Good Shepherd!
Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd!” Let me tell you about the shepherd you should follow after. If Jesus really is the head of your life He’s not going to allow you to go astray; wonder off. Jesus, in Matthew 18:11, says that He came to save that which was lost. If one of His sheep were to get away, Jesus would go and save it. John 10:11, Jesus said that the Good Shepherd will give His life for His sheep. When the thieves and robbers comes, the Good Shepherd will turn them away. When the wolves try to consume His sheep the Good Shepherd will fight them off. Jesus has fought off Satan and beat Him. Jesus has given His life so that His sheep will not be consumed by sin and the world.
Jesus is our Good Shepherd. If you follow the leader you shall not want for anything. If you follow the leader he will take you into the green pastures to lay. The Good Shepherd will lead you be the still waters. When you go through the dangerous valleys you will have nothing to fear because the Good Shepherd will be with you. The Good Shepherd is going to even bless you in the presence of those thieves, those robbers, and those wolves! If you follow the leader he is going to lead you to a life of abundance.
You see one day Jesus is going to return to this ol’ world and He is going to call out His sheepfold. I believe on that day that Jesus is going to call all of His sheep by their name and we will hear the voice of our Shepherd and know that it is Him who is calling our name. When that day come we shall be called up to meet with our Lord! This day will only come to those who truly have followed after Jesus Christ. This day will only come to those who really do have Jesus at the head of their lives. If you are not following after the Good Shepherd I am here to persuade you that you should follow after Him. I don’t want to see you destroyed by the ways of others. I don’t want to see you led astray into beliefs of spiritual destruction. Put Jesus at your forefront.