The Pendleton Sheep & the False Shepherd

Last week I walked about Pendleton seeking some minor place of interest. As I walked through a certain field, the cattle, much to my relief, ignored me. The sheep, on the other hand, came charging over. Twenty yards away, they stopped, and one brave ewe, whom I reckoned their leader, approached within 3-4 yards of me. I was a little nervous; tups have been known to knock over stout farmers. I espied a large stick with which I might persuade this dame to mind her own business.

She and they soon tired of me. I imagine they thought me the farmer bringing them food. I held nothing but my Ordnance Survey, and this perhaps they mistook for sweetmeats. As all sheep look alike to me, all men must look alike to sheep. The way I spoke and the absence of food made them soon realise I was no shepherd. 

Jesus said in John 10:27: My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. The context of His statement is the Good Shepherd discourse and He concludes by stating that no-one can snatch the sheep out of His hand. All very reassuring. We believers have heard Christ’s call in our lives and have responded. We read His word and we know His will. So I have ‘heard’ him but I have never seen Him.

Elsewhere, the Bible warns against false teachers and false prophets. Like me in the Pendleton field, they look like shepherds. When their words and teachings are compared with Christ’s, however, they are found wanting. How quick we are to run to hirelings and charlatans! Hopping on planes to Toronto, driving to Wales to see revivals, switching on TV to see Copeland and Hinn enriching themselves.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

John 10: 11-16