John 10:1-21 is known as the parable of the good shepherd. The good shepherd is the leader of the sheep. The sheep reside in the shepherds pen and he calls them and they follow, he knows them by name, and he leads them. And the sheep, they follow the shepherds lead fully and they listen to his every word and only his. The sheep does not follow the hired hand because they know only the shepherd will care for and protect them. So when the wolf comes to attack the flock the shepherds sheep do not listen to the wolf. They stay true to the shepherd and allow him to protect them. They do not run when things get tough. However, some enter the gate by jumping over the walls or slipping through cracks and openings in the sides. They reside in the pen but do not belong to the good shepherd. They pretend to be sheep, they wear wool to look like the sheep but they are not here to follow the shepherd but to destroy. When the wolf comes they join in the attack with the wolf or run because things got tough or scary.
You’re probably familiar with this parable. It’s also probably easy for you to pinpoint what represents what and who is who. The good shepherd is Christ, the sheep are the followers of Christ (the true followers), those who get into the pen some other way are those who either seek to destroy the followers of Christ or are not true followers, the hired hand is the one who seeks to lead the sheep but runs when things get tough, and lastly the wolf is anyone, but namely the Devil, who seeks to destroy the sheep and sheep pen.
The question this leads to is which sheep are we? We all want to say that we’re the true sheep, the ones who listen and follow the shepherd. So we have to ask ourselves a couple questions: when things get tough do we continue to listen to the shepherd and do we follow only the shepherd? If we can answer yes to both of these we know we are sheep of the true shepherd. If we answer no then we need to think of what may be holding us back or why we are not fully committed. This parable ends by Jesus speaking of how He lays down His life for the sheep. Jesus has opened His sheep pen up to us. Therefore its up to us to decide to be true sheep. Think and discuss how you can be a part of Jesus’ pen and not simply be someone wearing wool.