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The Land and the Book ; A Day with the Dignity of Man, by Bishop Harris. Jo-
THE LESSON IN ART.
Jesus, the Leader and Saviour of All Men. I. JESUS, THE TRUE SHEPHERD, vs. 1-10. The parable of the good shepherd " is a continuation of the conversation which arose out of the healing of the blind man in chapter 9. Jesus explains to the excommunicated man who it is that has power to give entrance to the true fold or exclude from it." Expositor's Greek Testament. “ Perhaps the parable was suggested by the sight of the shepherds and their flocks on the hills about Jerusalem. The image was a favorite one in the Old Testament (Ezek. 34 : 2 ; Jer. 33:1 ; Zech. 11:3; Ps. 23).” — Robert E. Speer.
1. Verily, verily, I say unto you. John's Gospel alone uses this double affirmation, and never at the beginning of a discourse. He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold. “ An Eastern sheepfold has a solid door, which is closed at night and
guarded by a doorkeeper or 'porter.'” - Westminster New Testament. The door is heavily barred and can resist a strong assault. “Every sheepfold has courtyard open to the sky, but inclosed by high stone walls or thick hedges of thorns.”
- Anna F. Mamreov. But climbeth up some other way. Literally, from an
other quarter. The Sheepfold.
same is a thief and
robber. 'thief'uses fraud and the 'robber' is prepared to use violence.' Expositor's Greek Testament.
Illustration. Dr. James M. Farrar tells the children how once a band of robbers tried to break into a castle but found the doors and walls too strong for them. Presently one of them discovered a tiny window unbarred. They found a little boy and put him through the narrow window, and he unlocked the big window, and so all the robbers got into the castle. Any little wrong a child does ting the little thief inside the castle. 2. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
“ The sheep enter in by the door into the sheepfold. The true shepherd enters in by the same door with the sheep. The Pharisees separated themselves from the people; but the power to lead men lies in sympathizing with them and walking in the same way with them.” - Bishop Samuel Harris.
3. To him the porter openeth. “ There is always a caretaker at night with the flocks in case of sickness among the animals. There is an elevated stone platform both inside the fold and in the courtyard on which the shepherd in charge can rest
or a man
is like put
7. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
himself.” Mamreov. “ The porter who opens the door to Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit.” - Rev. Louis Albert Banks, D.D. “ The Porter is still opening the hearts of men to the Saviour.". Sir W. Robertson Nicoll. And the sheep hear his voice. “ When several flocks are penned in the same fold the animals naturally get mixed during the night. But there never is any trouble on that score, and it is one of the prettiest and most interesting sights at such times to watch the sheep hurry out of the fold at the sound of the call of the shepherd. They will pause for a second or two, listen attentively, and then trot along to range themselves unerringly around their own shepherds.' Mamreov. And he calleth his own sheep by name. Eastern shepherds have names for their sheep as we for dogs, cats, and horses. “ Several flocks may be penned in one fold for safety, and in the morning the shepherd calls forth his own, his voice being immediately recognized by the members of his particular flock.” Westminster New Testament.
Illustrations. “ Each of us has a name (Isa. 43 : 1 ; 45 : 3 ; 49:1; Rev. 3 : 5), and God's name for us is our true name, the name of our true selves, what by God's grace we are to be. Simon's name was Peter (Rev. 2 : 17). Some have said that the Oriental shepherd calls his sheep by the name of their defects. But that cannot be God's way. He calls us by the name of our noblest possibilities. Simon, thou shalt be called Rock.' The early Christians were called to be saints and were called saints, a name far nobler and more uplifting than any name drawn from their imperfections." - Speer.
Each of us is finally saved, not as a man, or some one of mankind, led forth by his Lord in the general fock, but as the Master's dear Simon, or James, or Alpheus, or Martha, whose name is so recorded in the Lamb's book of life.'. Horace Bushnell.
“ He never confounds Thomas and John, or Peter and Nathaniel, or Mary and Martha. Each name suggests its special problem, and requires peculiar ministry.” Rev. J. H. Jowett.
And leadeth them out. “ When he speaks of himself as the Door (v. 7), he speaks of our entering in ; but when he speaks of himself as the Shepherd, he says, “ He leadeth them out.'" Majoribanks.
4. And when he putteth forth his own sheep (R. V.,“ When he hath put forth all his own ”). “ Putteth forth instead of leadeth out,' in v. 3. It implies a constraint, as if some of the sheep were unwilling to leave the fold.” Professor Marvin R. Vincent. He goeth before them. The Eastern shepherd still walks in front of his flock, and does not drive it before him as Western shepherds do." It is thus that the shepherd clears the way and faces any danger that may be ahead of them. Mamreov. And the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. “ The object of the allegory being to set forth the relations of Christ to his sheep, the possibility of bad sheep is not taken into account. That side of the picture is treated in the parables of the lost sheep and of the sheep and the goats.” Cambridge Bible.
5. And a stranger will they not follow. “ By a stranger is meant any one whom they do not know, not necessarily a thief or robber.” – Cambridge Bible.
Illustration. • There is a story of a Scotch traveller who changed clothes with a Jerusalem shepherd and tried to lead the sheep ; but the sheep followed the shepherd's voice and not his clothes."
Plummer. For they know not the voice of strangers. “ The shepherd depends upon the sheep to follow, and they in turn expect him never to leave them. They run after him if he appears to be escaping from them, and are terrified if he is out of sight, or any stranger appears instead of him. He calls them from time to time to let them know that he is at hand. The sheep listen and continue grazing, but if any one else tries to produce the same peculiar cries and guttural sounds, they look around with a startled air and begin to scatter." Mackie.
6. This parable spake Jesus unto them. “ Parable is here used of a comparison rather than of a symbolic narrative. John 15, concerning the True Vine, is like it. There are no real parables in the fourth Gospel.” But they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. They would have understood if they had known their Old Testaments better.
7. Then (R.V., “therefore ") said Jesus unto them again, going through the allegory more explicitly. The Great Teacher was always ready for reviews. Verily,
8. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
9. I am the door : by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
verily, I say unto you. This emphatic introduction opens up the central truth of the parable. I am the door of the sheep. Jesus is the absolute Door ; the door that leads to himself.” — Hugh Macmillan. Dr. Macmillan thinks that as Jesus spoke these words he was watching a flock of sacrificial sheep being driven through the
Sheep-gate of Jerusalem, now St. Stephen's
Illustration. Once there was a Persian reformer who proclaimed himself as the “ Bab,” “the Gate of Life.” What he claimed falsely, our Lord claimed truly.
8. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers. Christ, of course, did not refer to the prophets, because they did not claim to do the work of Messiah, but pointed forward to him. He referred to the proud, assertive Jewish leaders, the false shepherds of the sheep. But the sheep did not hear them. The false teachers had their followers, but they were only “the blind led by the blind ” ; they were not “ the sheep."
9. I am the door. Our Lord was fond of door symbols ; see Matt. 7:7,8 ;_25: 10; Luke 12:35, 36; 13:25; also Rev. 3:20.
Illustrations. A traveller in Palestine was talking with a shepherd about the fold. “ But where is the door?” he asked. 'Door ? " said the shepherd ; “I am the door! I lie across the entrance at night. No sheep can pass out, no wolf come in, except over my body. ... The very panels of a common door are often arranged so as to produce the figure of a cross. It is said that this originated with a guild of carpenters, who took as their emblem the Cross on the Door, with this verse as a motto.” - Rev. Thomas Majoribanks.
By me if any man enter in, he shall be
saved. Saved from danger and death,
C. Schönherr. saved from Satan and his snares, saved "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." from failure and sorrow and eternal de
spair. Illustration. “ There are creatures of low grade in the animal world which have the instinct, because their own bodies are so undefended and impotent to resist contact with sharp and penetrating substances, that they take refuge in the abandoned shells of other creatures. You and I have to betake ourselves behind the defences of that strong love and mighty Hand if ever we are to pass through life without fatal harm.”
“Some Russians, crossing a wide plain, could hear the baying of the wolves behind them. The horses tore along with all speed, yet the wolves were fast behind, and they only escaped by the skin of their teeth, managing just to get inside some hut that stood by the road, and to shut to the door. Then they could hear the wolves dash against the sides of the hut and leap on the roof, howling, but the travellers were safe; because they had entered in by the door, and the door was shut. Now, when a man is in Christ he can hear, as it were, the devils howling like wolves, all fierce and hungry for him ; and his own sins, like wolves, are seeking to drag him down to destruction.
10. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Il. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
to be ?"
But he has got in to Christ, and that is such a shelter that all the devils in the world, if they were to come at once, could not start a beam of that eternal refuge." Spurgeon.
And shall go in and out. Compare the fine passage, Num. 27 : 15-21. “To‘go out and in ’ is the common Old Testament expression to denote the free activity of daily life (Jer. 37:4 ; Ps. 121:8; Deut. 28 : 6).” — Expositor's Greek Testament. And find pasture. The pasture is all peace and happiness and blessedness; a useful honored life, and a serene, triumphant death.
Illustration. “I remember when I was in Australia seeing some wretched cattle trying to find grass on a yellow pasture where there was nothing but here and there a brown stalk that crumbled to dust in their mouths as they tried to eat it. That is the world without Jesus Christ. And I saw the same pasture six weeks after, when the rains had come, and the grass was high, rich, juicy, satisfying. That is what the world may be to you, if you will put it second, and seek first that your souls shall be fed on Jesus Christ.' Alexander Maclaren.
10. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. The thief is any one that has not Christ's spirit of love ; he must therefore have the opposite spirit of hate. I am come that they might have life (R. V., “I came that they may have life"). “ Eternal life begins, not in some far-off and shadowy future, but the instant that a soul fully surrenders itself to God, the instant that it enters the converted life.” President Martyn Summerbell, D.D. And that they might have it more abundantly (R. V., “and may have it abundantly "). Literally, may have abundance. Professor Marvin R. Vincent. The thought may be of more abundant life, but more probably it is of overflowing sustenance. Compare Ps. 23 : 1. “Why not glorify the life that now is by the abundance and fulness of the life that is
Caroline Hazard, LL.D. Illustrations. “ The famous English preacher, Dr. Dale, was at one time much depressed, and prayed God to forgive him for the sin of gloom. He was getting ready for the Easter services and there flashed upon him the thought, ` Jesus Christ is alive !' He walked up and down his study and said, Jesus Christ alive !'. And; in the glory of that risen life, he went to preach; and his sun never more went down.' - Banks.
Sir John Lubbock, lecturing once on “ The Fall of the Leaf,” brought into the lecture room the branch of a tree. The dead leaves were still hanging on it, though it was spring and the branch was cut off in the autumn. They had not fallen off because there was no new, living sap coursing through the branch to push them off. It is the current of new life from Jesus Christ that alone can push off bad habits from our lives, and enable us to bear leaves and flowers and fruit.
In his sermon on this text Starr King tells the story of an Eastern monarch of whom an oracle prophesied that he should live only twelve years more. Determined to outwit the oracle by living twenty-four years in the twelve, the king crowded his life full of pleasures, illuminated his palace and gardens all night, and doubled all his revelries. But he died after only six years. Not such is the life more abundant which Christ gives, but a life ever richer and more satisfying, that fits right into the eternal life in heaven.
II. JESUS, THE SACRIFICING SHEPHERD, vs. 11-13. Among the Old Testament heroes who were shepherds or had to do with sheep were Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, and Amos. But now we come to the greatest of the Bible shepherds.
11. I am the good shepherd. “ Perhaps even Christ never spoke more fruitful words than these." Alexander Maclaren. Good 'probably in the sense in which we speak of a 'good' painter or a 'good'architect ; one who excels at his business.”
Expositor's Greek Testament. “The epithet points to the essential goodness as nobly realized, and appealing to admiring respect and affection.” - Professor Vincent. “ In the literature of Greece the name of shepherd is often applied to kings and leaders (as in Homer), and the rich significance of the emblem is brought out by Plato (Republic, Book I, etc.) as well as by other writers. The figure is conspicuous in the 12. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
art and literature of Christianity, from the days when it was drawn in rude outline on the vaulted roof of the Roman catacombs, or found a place in the writings of the early church Fathers.” — Century Bible. We still call our ministers“ pastors.” “When Christ speaks of himself as the shepherd of the sheep, he wants us to combine in our thought about him these two things his absolute, authoritative superiority, and his sweet, familiar, condescending care.' Rev. Henry W. Clark. The good
shepherd giveth his life (R. V., “ layeth down his life ") for the sheep. The verb “is explained in two ways : either (1) as laying down as a pledge, paying as a price, or (2) laying aside his life like a garment. The latter seems preferable.” Vincent. American shepherds do not need to lay down their lives for their sheep, but “in the East there is never a day that dawns but may reveal the hero or the hireling in the shepherd. To-night there may spring a lion on the flock. Or who can tell but that yon swirling dust betokens the galloping of Bedouin sheep-stealers ? ” — Rev. G. H. Morrison. Recall the experience of David with the lion and the bear, 1 Sam. 17:34-37.
12. But he that is an hireling, and not the (R. V., “a”) shepherd. “The application is to those ministers who care chiefly for the emoluments and advantages of their position, and retire when the position becomes irksome or dangerous.” —Cambridge Bible. Whose own the sheep are not. If he were not a hireling he would have made them his own in his loving care, though they were not his actual possession. Seeth the wolf coming. The Greek verb implies
that the shepherd's eyes are fixed on the The Good Shepherd.
wolf with the fascination of terror. And
leaveth the sheep, and fleeth. “ The hireling escapes to a safe distance, climbs a tree or mounts a high rock where he stands and yells, and throws stones if he has any handy.” — Anna F. Mamreov. And the wolf catcheth (R. V., “snatcheth ") them, and scattereth the sheep. Foreseeing the trials and persecutions to come, Christ knew that often, if his under-shepherds were not eagerly faithful, the forces of worldliness and infidelity would scatter his flock like ravening wolves.
13. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling. The flight proves that he is only a hired hand,” working for the sake of his wages and not for the sake of the sheep. And careth not for the sheep. Compare the beautiful verse, 1 Pet. 5 : 7.
III. THE GOOD SHEPHERD AND THE GOOD FATHER, vs. 14-18. 14. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine (R. V., “ And I know mine own, and mine own know me ”). “It is transparently simple to see what Jesus intended his relation to his followers to be — just like that which bound him and the Father together.” Rev. William Hiram Foulkes, D.D. See John 17: 21-23.
Illustration. “ One day a missionary, meeting a shepherd on one of the wildest parts of the Lebanon, asked him if he counted his sheep every night. On answering that he did not, he was asked how he knew if they were all there or not. His reply