Jesus: Shepherd, Vine, Teacher – Savior!
By Dennis Huebshman
In the book of John, Jesus describes Himself in several ways. In doing so, He lets His disciples know the manner in which they should live their lives. This message will be centered around John 10, 14, 15 and 16 with any emphasis being mine.
John 10:1-2: Jesus says He is the Good Shepherd. He says that anyone who attempts to enter the Sheepfold by any means other than the door is a thief and a robber. He is plainly describing the Straight and Narrow here (Matthew 7:14), and for today’s people that say there’s many ways to Heaven it shows they are very mistaken. One other reference to a door is found in Revelation 3:20 where Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone will open the door, I will come in and they will dine with me, and I with them.” He is inviting us to open to Him whereas He will never forcefully try to enter our lives.
Jesus says His sheep hear His voice and they recognize Him and will gladly follow Him. These are the True Believers that have repented of their sins and have asked Him to be the Shepherd (Savior) of their lives. They develop a relationship that the “strangers” or false prophets cannot take away. He repeats this several times which means it is very significant to him. He says He is the door and to try to enter by any other means is to reject Him If this sounds familiar, it coincides with John 14:6 where Jesus tells his disciples He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through Him. This does not leave any room for any other method of gaining Eternal Life in Heaven except through Jesus, and the Father fully agrees with this.
John 10:16 tells us Jesus is not just the Shepherd of this particular flock (Jews), but has other sheep (Gentiles) that He is going to bring into the fold to join together and all become one big flock under one Shepherd. With this comes God’s promise to show no partiality for ANY who accept His Son. (Romans 2:11)
Jesus tells about the “hired hands” that are not owners of the sheep and will abandon them at the onset of any problem. These are a group of false prophets that are only interested in material gain and have no stake in the souls of their followers. They give feel-good, ear-tickling messages meant to soothe their congregations, but nothing of substance to save their eternal souls. It’s only for their personal gain.
Jesus is the ultimate leader of His flock, and does whatever is necessary to provide for them. He even lays down His life for His flock so that no one can take them away from Him. No one takes His life, He gives it willingly and the Father only honors this sacrifice for the ultimate sin offering required for all mankind.
If the sheep follow hired hands rather than the Shepherd, they are most likely to be lost. John 10:30 plainly states, “The Father and I are One.” Going to John 14:11, Jesus tells His disciples in plain language that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. He repeated several times in John 10 how much He loves His “Sheep” and would never abandon them. One word of caution, John 14: 13-14 and a couple other verses say Jesus will do whatever you and I ask in His name, so the Father may be glorified in the Son. In verse 14 He says, “If you ask me anything in My name, I will do it.” This is where prosperity preachers get some ammunition for their tainted sermons. They forget that Jesus is talking about His True Followers that have accepted Him Completely and it must be within the will of the Father. If this is the case, the request will be granted. His followers know they must keep His commandments to be in His will. Commandment One is to Love the Lord Thy God with all your heart, soul and mind, and the Second is like it in that you are to love one another as I have loved you. If anything is asked in a selfish or self-serving way for personal gain, do not expect these requests to be done. (John 14: 21-14) The prosperity people won’t ever tell you about this.
John 15 tells of the Vine and the branches. Jesus is the Vine and the Father is the Gardner. Any branch that does not bear fruit is taken away and burned (unbelievers going into the Lake of Fire). Those who bear fruit, He prunes them, so they will bear much fruit. The Father will discipline those who need it, but only to bring them closer to the Lord. This is not punishment, but a correcting action such as a parent would do for a child they love very much. John 15: 7; 16; John 16: 23-26 are more of the verses prosperity people take out of context. Again, He will provide what we ask if we are in His will. Anyone who professes to be a believer but never really accepts Jesus will be considered a non-productive branch and will be “Thrown Out”
John 15:12 repeats His commandment to love one another as He loves us. He lets them know the world will hate Christians, because the world hates Him. This is very obvious even today. He says Christians will be persecuted but to be comforted because in this world we will have trouble and sufferings, but He has conquered the world (John 16:33).
Jesus has told us in a number of ways that He loves us with a love that is unparalleled. If we accept Him, truly believe in Him, we are assured an eternity with Him that is beyond human description.
Sad part is, many people put all their efforts in to this world and never stop to think about eternity. What we have here is but a blink of any eye compared to what lies ahead.
We have a Savior that laid down His human life in a very awful way, so we could live in luxury with Him forever. He deserves our praise and glory and so much more. All He asks is we accept Him and His sacrifice, repent of past sins and ask His forgiveness. He will not turn anyone away because He died for ALL Mankind. He will prepare a place for us as he said in John 14: 2-3. When it is your time to leave this earth either by death or by rapture, you will be with Him immediately just as He promised the thief on the cross that was crucified with Him.
There is no other way – No other choice. Please make your decision today before it’s too late.