19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.– Matt. 28:19 NLT
In yesterday’s reading, we thought about how we might have reacted to the instructions of Jesus to “go and make disciples of all the nations”. The important part for us in any work in which God asks us to participate is to agree and believe. How do we get to that point? We start by remembering that God never asks us to do anything that He has not prepared us to do and that He is ready to provide everything we need to complete the work. Look at the training that Jesus had given the disciples. They had had three years of walking and talking with Him on a daily basis, observing Him as He interacted with people on all levels of society and healing them. In today’s society, that would probably qualify them for a doctorate degree in Christianity. God had used the evil Romans to build the roads necessary and to make the country safe enough to travel. He had sent the disciples out once before with absolutely nothing but the clothes on their back and the sandals on their feet. They had passed the survival test then and they would again. When God calls us to participate in His Kingdom work, He just wants us to agree and be available, He provides everything else. So when you feel that little nudge, don’t doubt, don’t fear, don’t be a Zechariah and get struck dumb for nine months, be a Mary and become “blessed above all”.
1 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, the person who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber.2 The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The one who guards the door opens it for him. And the sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he brings all his sheep out, he goes ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger. They will run away from him because they don’t know his voice.” 6 Jesus told the people this story, but they did not understand what it meant.—John 10:1-6 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
It is often heard that sheep are dumb,stupid animals. That statement is, of course, up for debate. Sheep are gregarious and are natural followers, this is for their own protection and it also makes them easier to herd. They do have an excellent sense of hearing which could explain why they know their shepherd’s voice. They will follow the shepherd because they know his voice. Without a shepherd, they will follow the lead sheep wherever he goes, even unto death. Where there is only one sheepfold, all the shepherds put their sheep into that holding area for the night. It is guarded by a gatekeeper who allows only the shepherds to go in the next morning and call their sheep. Only that particular shepherd’s sheep will follow him because sheep will not follow a stranger. Jesus wanted the people to understand that there was more than one shepherd in the world. Would they follow the voice of the True Shepherd or the voice of the deceiver? At birth, we humans are all in the same sheepfold and hear those same voices today. Which voice will you learn to recognize and follow?