WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday May 13, 2012
THE GOOD SHEPHERD
(We are lost without the GOOD SHEPHERD)
In the Greek, the word used for “thief” is “kleptes” (klep-tace), and it describes “one who takes by stealth or by covert means”. By contrast, the Greek word used for “robber” is “lestes” (lace-tace), and it describes “one who takes by force”. In John chapter 10, verse 1, the thief, that JESUS is alluding to, could be any of the Pharisees, the religious leaders of that day, who took by subtle and unsuspecting methods. The robber, that JESUS makes mention of, can be likened to any of the Romans, who took, or stole from the Israelites by imposing their will, authority, and power upon them. It was those kinds of leaderships that JESUS sought to expose and put an end to forever. And it was certainly not the kind of leadership that HE intended for HIS new upcoming Christian Church.
Perhaps there is no more endearing image of JESUS in all of Scripture, than the one HE presents of HIMSELF as the “Good Shepherd” in John chapter 10. The imagery of the Good Shepherd is forever woven in the minds and hearts of all who believe in CHRIST JESUS. The Bible is rife with passages that use the analogy of the loving Shepherd as a provider and protector of that which he oversees. He is one who risks his life to seek and save, even that one straying sheep, who may have separated itself from his beloved flock.
The leaders of the Christian church must also be likened to the good Shepherd, and the members of their congregation, can be likened to the flock. It is the duty of the pastor to spiritually lead, and feed his flock with the nourishing food of the word of GOD. He must, do so, willingly and eagerly, without constraints, not for the love of money, nor, for the power that he has obtained, due to his position. He must lead by example, and his behavior must paint a picture of the patience and love of GOD, our LORD and SAVIOR, through JESUS CHRIST.
In the Latin Vulgate, the word Jerome uses for “Pastor” is “Shepherd” in Ephesians 4:11. It describes the function of one in such a position in the church. It is the duty of each member of the flock, to come into a personal relationship with the SHEPHERD, because of their continued need for HIS love, guidance, and protection. They should always be able to discern HIS voice from all other voices, and also be able to distinguish that which is representative of HIS work.
The only way, to achieve that kind of relationship with GOD, is by familiarizing oneself with the SHEPHERD, JESUS CHRIST. One can thereby, ultimately realize the purpose for which he has came into the fold (world), and that is, of course, to serve and obey GOD. GOD’s voice can only be heard, through a leader who has patterned his life after the examples of service that were shown to us by JESUS CHRIST during HIS three-year ministry. JESUS’ impeccable standards will manifest themselves through anyone who represents HIS cause. There is no way to mistaken HIS unique and lofty standards for those of any “false representatives” that may have came down the pike, either before, or since HIS time. One only needs to know JESUS the SHEPHERD, WHO is the real deal, in order to discern the fakes, who misrepresent.
Just as every good shepherd knows his sheep, every good sheep should come to know his shepherd’s voice. Such knowledge can mean the difference between life and death, in many cases. It can also be the difference between danger and safety, starvation and nourishment, or, shelter and homelessness.
To be alone in this world, and have no hope of anything beyond this world, is a frightening thought. We as Christians, no longer have to entertain, or envision that thought. And so, we should be forever thankful to our “GOOD SHEPHERD”, our LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, for making the wonderful gift of Eternal Life in GOD’s own glorious presence, a reality, by way of HIS vicarious sacrifice on the cross at Golgotha.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander