October 12, 2018
READ: John 10:1-16
I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father (vv.14-15).
Sheep have a bad reputation, often seen as one of the dumbest animals on the planet. But a recent University of Cambridge study reveals they’re actually quite clever. The research proves that sheep can be trained to recognise human faces from photographs, and they can identify a picture of their handler without prior training. Given their relatively large brains and longevity, researchers are hoping the humble sheep can help in the study of neurodegenerative disorders like Huntington’s disease.
Jesus compared believers in Him to sheep—a reference I’ve thought as primarily negative. “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own” (Isaiah 53:6).
But although we do tend to wander from God, when we acknowledge Jesus as our Good Shepherd and take the time to know Him, He provides everything we need for “a rich and satisfying life” (Psalm 23:1; John 10:10). Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father” (v.14).
False shepherds, however, threaten to steal the delight of our relationship with Jesus (vv.1-10). Whether it’s bingeing on our favourite TV series, scrolling through our social media platforms or watching videos of some big-name motivational speaker, there are plenty of distractions that can easily draw us away from the only One who genuinely loves us and gave His life for us (vv.11-13).
Doing dumb things doesn’t have to be our instinct. We can be clever sheep as God leads us, listening to and obeying the Good Shepherd. It starts by recognising who we are and whose we are—sheep of the Good Shepherd and children of the Most High God. —Ruth O’Reilly-Smith
365-day plan: Acts 4:23-37
Read Mark 6:30-34 for more on how we need a Shepherd to lead and teach us.
How have you seen the Good Shepherd involved in your everyday life? What can you do to better recognise His voice and character?