The Good Shepherd Leadership Model

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WHO IS THE GOOD SHEPHERD?

John 10:1-11 — “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. The doorkeeper opens the door for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought all his own sheep out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not recognize the stranger’s voice.” Jesus told them this parable, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus said again, “I tell you the solemn truth, I am the door for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters through me, he will be saved, and will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

One of the simplest things we may do is reinterpret a biblical passage in order to make it fit our own agenda. When we read passages like Matthew 7:7, for instance, we face the temptation to interpret the Bible in a way that conforms to our own preferences.

Matthew 7:7 — “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you.

When we take into account the other verses in the chapter, we can see that the verse in question is referring to the proclamation of the gospel. If, on the other hand, we consider our own corrupted hearts, we can erroneously interpret the verse as an encouragement to “speak into reality” the things that we want.

When we do this, however, we reduce God’s character to that of a subservient being who blindly bows down to our corrupted inclinations, rather than to that of a God who liberates us from those tendencies.

Our depraved nature, of course, leans more toward the warped interpretation of God; this is a fact that cult leaders and fake instructors are all too familiar with. False teachers and leaders of cults are notorious for distorting people’s conceptions of God to fit their own agendas. They use our yearnings for wealth, protection, and a deeper understanding of the world to manipulate us and guide us astray in the pursuit of their own ends.

Nobody among us wants to be taken advantage of by a phoney leader, but how can we tell the real ones from the pretend ones? Originality is one of the genuine signs that a leader is not to be trusted. If a teacher brags, “Only I can accurately interpret the scriptures,” such a teacher is almost probably a fraudulent teacher.

GET AS FAR AWAY FROM THE INSTRUCTOR AS YOU CAN

It does not matter how educated we are, how old we are, or how charismatic we are; the Bible assures us that the Holy Spirit will come to reside in us when we are baptised into Christ. The Holy Spirit, and not our own impulses or cleverness, is the one who enlightens us on the correct interpretation of the scriptures. Understanding is not restricted to just one individual by God in any way.

It goes without saying that this does not imply that every single conclusion we arrive at when reading the Bible is “spirit guided.” Checking to see whether our interpretation is consistent with that of the faithful church throughout all of history is one technique to determine whether or not we are interpreting the text properly. Another option is to ask two questions that are fairly common:

  •  What do you think this passage of scripture reveals about the nature of God?
  •  Where do we find this scripture in its proper setting?

If we provide answers to both of these concerns, the genuine significance of the biblical text will become much more transparent to us.

[blockquote align=”right” author=”GS”]”The Holy Spirit, and not our own impulses or cleverness, is the one who enlightens us on the correct interpretation of the scriptures.”[/blockquote]

Turning our attention back to John 5, we may better grasp the context of John 10:1-11. In the fifth chapter of John, Jesus restores mobility to a man who had been crippled for thirty-eight years. Could you put yourself in the man’s shoes and try to picture how he felt? This man was forced to beg on the streets for a good portion of his life. He had nothing, not even someone to “assist [him] into the pool when the water swirled.” He was completely helpless.

THEN CHRIST HEALED HIM

Jesus had worked on the Sabbath day, which infuriated the Pharisees, despite the fact that the man was overjoyed by the news. In point of fact, they got to the point where they were so angry that they plotted to kill him.

This is seen once again in John 9 when Jesus restores sight to a man who had been blind since birth. Instead of celebrating with the man and sharing in his happiness, the Pharisees expelled him from the congregation. Once again, the Pharisees oppose the work of God rather than celebrating it and delighting in it. Why?

In Ezekiel 34:2-4, God says:

Ezekiel 34:2-4 — “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them – to the shepherds: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the choice animals, but you do not feed the sheep! You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bandaged the injured, brought back the strays, or sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled over them.

This is the accusation that God brings against the Pharisee, the leader of the cult, and the false teacher: that God entrusted them with his own sheep, but that they broke this trust in order to satisfy themselves at the expense of the well-being of the flock.

It is common knowledge that the leaders of cults live lavish lifestyles, despite the fact that their followers can barely scrape together enough money to send them. A number of charlatans make claims of having enormous mansions, costly automobiles, and even private helicopters. Some have even been accused of physically and sexually abusing their victims!

THIEVES AND ROBBERS

These are the thieves and robbers that Jesus mentions in John 10:1; their names are not mentioned. These folks do not enter via the door but rather attempt to draw the flock to themselves by perverting the meaning of the Torah. They are not here to take care of the sheep; rather, they are here to take care of themselves.

John 10:1 — “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber.

This brings us full round to the question posed at the beginning: what does this passage reveal to us about the nature of God?

The book of John is packed with characterizations about the nature of God, including the following:

John 10:9 — I am the door. If anyone enters through me, he will be saved, and will come in and go out, and find pasture.

The purpose of a gate is to prevent unauthorised individuals from entering while permitting authorised individuals to do so. Therefore, Jesus is the one who guards us.

John 10:14 — “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me – “

First, Jesus makes it clear that He is not evasive; His followers are aware of Him. Because the truth is not exclusive to any one individual, it is possible for each one of Jesus’ sheep to come to know Him. All those who seek the truth in a sincere manner may get illumination from the Holy Spirit.

Second, Jesus identified Himself as the “good shepherd” throughout the gospels. This should bring Psalm 23 to mind for us, which is a Psalm in the Bible that goes into great detail on the nature of God.

John 10:11 — “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

A false teacher will sacrifice the sheep in order to save his own life, while Jesus gave His life in order to save His flock. He is the epitome of benevolence.

However, the revelation of God’s character that is seen in verse thirty is the most significant of all of them. When Jesus made a reference to Ezekiel, it is clear to everyone that He is asserting that He is the promised Messiah. However, in verse thirty, Jesus claimed to be more than just the Messiah; He claimed to be God. This is a significant difference.

John 10:30 — The Father and I are one.”

What should we do in light of this information, then?

When we examine this biblical text more closely, we will see that there are no explicit instructions given. Scriptures that do not have direct commandments are not, however, scriptures that do not include any directives at all. We may readily comprehend the implied directives included in a paragraph if we know more about the background of the biblical text.

For instance, if we look at Acts 20:28, Paul gives us the instruction,

Acts 20:28 — Watch out for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.

Christ is the supreme Good Shepherd, but He has given His followers with the responsibility of tending to the flock that He has committed to them. This is the instruction that is implied throughout John 10:1-11.

It is not a matter of whether or not you want to be a shepherd; Christ has entrusted people to you regardless of the path you choose to take in life. He has entrusted you with family members, acquaintances, and coworkers in the faith that you would look after them with the same level of concern that He has for you.

The issue that arises is what direction we will go with these individuals. Will we follow in the footsteps of a phoney fake guru and take advantage of these individuals for our own gain? Or are we going to follow the example set by Christ?

[blockquote align=”right” author=”GS”]”Christ is the supreme Good Shepherd, but He has given His followers with the responsibility of tending to the flock that He has committed to them.”[/blockquote]

Keeping in mind that God will bring destruction upon “the fat and the powerful,” we need to give great consideration to our response.

Ezekiel 34:16 — I will seek the lost and bring back the strays; I will bandage the injured and strengthen the sick, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them – with judgment!

Blessings,

Godwin.

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Godwin Shon Sequeira
Godwin Shon Sequeira
Articles: 123

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Blessings to you.