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One with the Messiah



"He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ." Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:28


"We, for our part, proclaim him; we warn, confront and teach everyone in all wisdom; so that we may present everyone as having reached the goal, united with the Messiah." CJB Colossians 1:28


I consider myself highly privileged to have been exposed to ministers of God who valued their calling so highly that it showed in how they fulfilled it. They knew that the people in their crusades, meetings, churches and lives were not theirs but God's. These people were committed into their hands by the Lord so that they could teach, raise and bring them up to the point where they could know the Lord Jesus and their Father YHWH so intimately they could not only represent him accurately in the world but could stand on their own in this relationship with God.


These were Teachers and Preachers of God's word who would dedicate whole days to prepare just one short (though sometimes long) Sunday sermon. With their insight, they reached the world not by aiming for it, but by their dedication to Jesus and thoroughness in bringing up the people they had been given. Each was raised and presented fully united with Christ. They produced people like themselves who knew the voice of the greater shepherd - Jesus - and had learnt to follow him by themselves.


In Jesus' parable in John 10:1 - 5, he makes some important claims we must pay attention to.

Here is the parable:

'' Jesus said, “It is certainly true that when a man enters the sheep pen, he should use the gate. If he climbs in some other way, he is a robber. He is trying to steal the sheep.

2 But the man who takes care of the sheep enters through the gate. He is the shepherd. The man who guards the gate opens the gate for the shepherd.

And the sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd. He calls his own sheep, using their names, and he leads them out.

He brings all of his sheep out. Then he goes ahead of them and leads them. The sheep follow him, because they know his voice.

But sheep will never follow someone they don’t know. They will run away from him, because they don’t know his voice.” ERV


There are 4 characters in this parable:

  • A Robber

  • The Sheep.

  • The one who Guards the gate

  • The Shepherd


The Robber is a character impersonating the Shepherd and trying to get the sheep to follow his (the robber's) voice.

The Sheep are the ones protected by the one who guards the gate. They belong to the Shepherd.

The Person who Guards the gate has the responsibility to open the gate to no one but the Shepherd.

The Shepherd owns the Sheep. He is responsible for caring for them himself. The Sheep know his voice and HE leads them. The Sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will never follow any other voice because they know the difference.


This parable was told to an ancient crowd of Israelis. He was explaining to them that HE was the Messiah and others before him were impostors. He pointed out who he is to them - their Saviour and Guide:


15 I am the shepherd who cares for the sheep. I know my sheep just as the Father knows me. And my sheep know me just as I know the Father. I give my life for these sheep." ERV


Israel as a nation was given very strict rules around the memorisation, recitation and reading of the Scriptures. It was inculcated into them from very young the place of the scriptures: it was their life. That is why Jesus could say:


4 …The sheep follow him, because they know his voice.


The only way they could know his voice was by their knowledge of him through the scriptures they had been given by Moses and the Prophets i.e. The Torah. However, this knowledge he expected from His Sheep had to be beyond the Intellectual knowledge of their Teachers-of-the-Scriptures. Otherwise, he would not have said to those Teachers:


"The Father’s teaching does not live in you, because you don’t believe in the one the Father sent. You carefully study the Scriptures. You think that they give you eternal life. These same Scriptures tell about me!" John 5:38 - 39


Knowledge of Jesus has to be an insight into the scriptures beyond the intellectual. It is an insight God gives. As Psalm 119:18 prays,

"Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law."


As we read on to John 10 verses 15 and 16, Jesus looks into the future and sees all of us who will come to believe days and centuries after this parable was told and he says in 16:


" 15 I am the shepherd who cares for the sheep. I know my sheep just as the Father knows me. And my sheep know me just as I know the Father. I give my life for these sheep. 16 I have other sheep too. They are not in this flock here. I must lead them also. They will listen to my voice. In the future there will be one flock and one shepherd. " ERV


Our Job as leaders and teachers is to teach the Sheep to know the voice of their Shepherd Jesus. Till they can discern his voice from all others and follow him independent of us, our job is not fulfilled. There is only one owner and husband of the sheep. A leader over Christ's Sheep is a gate guard. His commitment to Christ's Sheep/Bride is to be, as Paul puts it, "jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him." 2 Corinthians 11:2 NIV


The idea is not different congregations with different Shepherds. No.

God's Idea is different groups, denominations, peoples, in different homes, communities and nations with the very same Shepherd - one flock and one shepherd - Jesus the Messiah!


Although we might teach them to follow us while they are still very young (- just as Lambs follow the adult Sheep), the goal as the Apostle Paul said is, "We, for our part, proclaim him; we warn, confront and teach everyone in all wisdom; so that we may present everyone as having reached the goal, united with the Messiah." CJB Colossians 1:28


Intimacy with God and Jesus our savour through the insight the Spirit of YHWH gives by the scriptures, is the only way this goal will be achieved. Milk and regurgitated solids are only ok for children when they are young, strong meat must be given to the mature. The time comes that they source their food with knowledge and discernment.


But no one can give what they do not have.

So here is the word of God to all Leaders and Guards of the gate:

"Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15 AMP

 

"I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ." 2 Corinthians 11:2-3 NIV


"He is our God, and we are the people he cares for, his sheep that walk by his side.

Listen to his voice today:" Psalm 95:7


"In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." Hebrews 5: 12 -14


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