“...he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out.”
By Pastor Chad
If you have a dog, it is likely you have experienced the wonderful joy of calling your pet, but receiving no response. It is common for my dog, Mylo, to make no movement to my calls for him. There are times I’ll call and call for him to come inside, but he doesn’t budge until I say the “magic” phrase: Wanna treat? As soon as Mylo hears the word “treat,” he will come running for the door as fast as he can.
I have to give him an incentive to obey my call. I have to bribe him to respond to my command.
In my message on Sunday, I highlighted that in Jesus’ Good Shepherd discourse, he claims to call His sheep and His sheep follow (John 10:3). But why? What incentive do His sheep have? Why do His sheep follow when He calls?
At first, these may sound like odd questions. I mean, this is Jesus we are talking about. Jesus, the Savior of our souls. Jesus, the Creator of the universe. Jesus, the One who rescues us. Jesus, the One who died for us. Jesus, the Author of our lives. Jesus, the Alpha and Omega. We follow Him because He is the only one worthy of our ultimate allegiance. Do we really need any other reason? No…no we don’t. For argument's sake, let’s suppose we need another incentive to follow Him. What could that be? Well, I can think of at least one more reason: We were created to follow Him.
In John 10:10, Jesus says, “I came that you may have life and have it abundantly.” That word “abundantly” comes from a word that means something like “more than what is necessary.” Jesus became incarnate so that we might have more than is necessary. Well, what does that mean?
One can live a long life without following Christ. In fact, many have done so. Following Christ doesn’t mean we will live until we are 100. It doesn’t mean we will have a nice house, or a nice car, or a nice shoe collection. The life that Jesus offers isn’t a long physical life per se. It is the life. It is the true life. Jesus came so that all who follow Him may truly live life and flourish.
Jesus came and calls His sheep. All who follow, follow because that’s what you were created to do: follow Jesus. We respond to His call because we were made to do so. We respond to His call because He opens the door to the pens of sin and death that have imprisoned us. We were created to follow Jesus. Our response is merely conforming to our design and function. And for all who heed His call, he or she will live the life we humans were created to live.
What other incentive do we have to follow Jesus? Well, there is only one way to live the abundant life. And that is responding to the Shepherd’s call.
To hear the full sermon, click here.