When looking to shepherd one must first look to the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. By taking note of Him and His work we would come to a closer understanding of what it is to shepherd perfectly.
Humans will of course fall short of this, but we must first fill our eyes with the glory of His perfection to aim at a proper goal. In John chapter 10 we see several points toward the way the Good Shepherd acts.
The Good Shepherd Enters the sheepfold properly. He enters through the door. What door? The door of prophecy. To Him the prophets gave witness. He died and rose according to the Scriptures (1 Cor 15:3, 4). His life was predicted in Scriptures: his nationality, his place of birth, when he would come (Dan 9), his transportation into Jerusalem, and even in His suffering (Is 53). He took vinegar according to the Scriptures (John 19:28-30) and fulfilled the Scriptures even though He could have stopped it all and requested the Father?s aid (Matt 26:53)
Robbers enter in improperly with the purpose to destroy and steal. What methods will they use? They will use sweet words and fair speeches (Rom 16:17-18), they will use deceiving miracles (Rev 13:14), they will use a fair appearance (2 Sam 14:25-26) and by being personally interested in others (2 Sam 15:1-3). These things may not be wrong in themselves, but they?re being used to enter into the sheepfold instead of the proper way. They will cast doubt on the status quo (2 Sam 15:3) and create a need (or problem) where there is none). Following that they will present themselves as the answer to the perceived problem (2 Sam 15:4) by using an outer veneer of affection, therein stealing the hearts of the people (2 Sam 15:3)
The Good Shepherd calls out to his sheep by name?he is not a policy maker but is in a personal relationship with them. They follow him and he bears them with his power and his love.
The Good Shepherd goes before the sheep. He leads by example and prescribes without being one who doesn?t do himself, first. In other words, he says ?bear your cross? and he himself bore the cross. Like Hebrews 12:2 says that he endured the cross and despised the shame?consider Him lest you be wearing. Christ suffers for us and we are to follow (1 Pet 2:21)
The Good Shepherd is not like the Hireling. The Hireling runs off when the wolf arrives and leaves the sheep in danger. The hireling seeks after his own gain instead of that of the flock?and by implication he doesn?t know the flock nor does it know him. Not the Hireling from Judges 17 and 18 who was hired by Micah. He performed his hired work there but eventually left when some men from Dan told him of a better place with much more people.
Christ, unlike the hireling, loves his sheep and cares for them by example (John 13), by teaching (John 14-16), by praying for them (John 17) and by losing none (John 18:7-8). He puts himself in harms way for the sheep.
Session 01?Randy Amos