By Felix Zachariah:
THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Jesus as the good shepherd (through his unparalleled exhibition of love and affection) lay down his life for his sheeps, so that they will hear his voice; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.
“One fold” denotes the entirety of believers that make up the Ekklesia, and he Jesus is emphasizing that there is need for a church which is ‘one’ having only one shepherd (John 10:14, 16; John 11:52) just like there is but only one spirit, one faith and one baptism.
The Book of John’s Gospel captures this parable to shed more light on the authority of Jesus, His office and the significance of His shepherdhood, emphasizing the need for every true disciple to imbibe His leadership skills and qualities for the dispensation of the graces which we receive for the profit and benefit of the body, even His church.
Jesus is the shepherd who exemplarily laid down His life for His sheep so that they can live with him. He said that the proof that we are truly His disciples is that we will continue in His word. (John 7:39)
The essence of hearing the shepherd is to obey, and believe in him (John 10:16, 26) and also to follow him (John 10:27).
It was John the Baptist who herald His coming bearing witness to the light that appeared unto all men. “The ‘word’ became flesh and dwelleth among us”. The word was actually a prophecy that materialized through incarnation; for he was declared the son of God with power when the Holy Spirit ‘episkiazō’ (casted his shadow) on Mary his mother, and from thence, began the story of the redemption of men.
The ‘word’ was him, which has been from eternity past, who came according to that which was written of himself in the volume of the books — to do the will of the one that sent him.
Jesus Christ brought us light. He was the light and this light was the light of men. His role as a shepherd was to lead us beside the still waters, and feed us with green pastures. His shepherding rod and staff comforts us, he also prepare a table for the sheeps in the presence of their enemies. (Ps. 23:1-5)
As the light of the world, he singularly shew us the way of salvation. He said, “no one can go to the father except through me”. Consequently, he was the door and the gateway, the access-point to God’s eternal kingdom. When the lady with the spirit of divinition saw the apostles, she confirmed that they were mandated to show all men the ‘way of salvation’ even though she was been aided by another spirit– her testimony was correct. The way of Salvation was not a literal path, teaching or principle but a person. The way of Salvation was not just the testimony of the Gospel but the person of the Gospel. Christ and the Kingdom was the central message of the Euangellion (Gospel) and if any man or Angel should attempt to remove and expurgate the testimony about him from the whole Bible, it will become useless, impotent and void of substance and of the curses that are written therein shall God multiply unto such as will commit such a heinous offence.
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me”. This statement agrees with John chapter 8:31, “If ye continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed”. It means that the scope of Jesus’ discipleship is so that those he discipled will continue in his teachings. He was giving us a sign by which we can mark a true disciple.
A true disciple only recognizes and obey the voice of his teacher and the easiest way by which the teacher can recognize his disciples is in their obedience to what he has instructed and in doing what he had commanded. One of the sign by which a true disciple can easily be spotted is the boldness with which he wields authority and his undying allegiance to the Lord of his apostleship, not been fearful of men but faithful to God and submissive to delegated authority. If a man must truly run errands for him, he must have met him experientially. Any one who claim to be an apostle but not have enrolled self in the school where Jesus disciples, he will soon be proven a liar – this is the filter test that Gamaliel gave us in Acts 5:37-38.
However, the mystery of the field of blood which I call the mystery of Akeldama captures God’s verdict on ministerial misconduct and malpractice; it sums up the consequences and repercussion of abused apostleship.
According to the mystery of Akeldama, when a man of spiritual privilege or grace decides to do treachery to the Kingdom, then another must take his place either by substitution or election (Acts 1:20)
A bloody apostle is a traitor and every traitor is not fit to advance the Kingdom (Ps. 5:6), because to God, he is an abomination.
Disciples look away from the world unto Jesus; but traitors look away from Jesus to the world. Jesus does not want us to condemn ourselves, even when we become guilty of betraying him with a kiss. Peter committed the same offence as Judas Iscariot. The only differentce between the two is that one was sorry for his denial of Jesus and repented but even though Judas repented, he allowed guilt to destroy him. It was the Devil using him to fulfill the prophecy. Such kind of prophecies were given to warn us to desist from interfering and playing with God’s work, or else, we will pay with our lives.
All that Judas needed to do was that just like Peter, he should have repented and be sorry for his sin. He thought committing suicide will end it all or made God temper Justice with mercy but little did he knew that Jesus never took what he did into account.
Consequently, the rebellion of Judas taught us that the fall of an Iscariot will always give rise to the election of a Matthias; and until we come to a point of genuine repentence from corrupt practices in ministry, we are liable to burst out in the midst of Akeldama.
In other words, when our lives becomes a subtraction to the kingdom, God will opt for an addition by election. Those who wander out of God’s counsel will always loss their place in ordination.
This explains also, why the believers chose to stay in one place on Pentecost day. It was because they understood that disobedience to God’s instruction was tantamount to rebellion, and rebellion actually contradicts the essence of the finished works of Christ for men on the Cross.
Jesus was the good shepherd that came in the name of the Lord. That he was called ‘blessed’ implies that he is ‘the blessing of Abraham’ which came to the Gentiles. Additionally, we who are his disciples will also share in the authority which the Father which sent him gave unto him; obviously, when he sat on His right hand in the Heavens. Even such that, his authority was able to command the gates to lift up their heads, so that he can declare himself as the king of glory; the LORD who is both strong and mighty.
This story of his triumph in Hades was powerfully depicted in Psalms 24:9 of the Brenton Septuagint Translation in this wise:
“Lift up your gates, ye princes; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the king of glory shall come in.”
And in verse 10 of the International Standard Version, the princes tried to question his authority, then an answer was given almost immediately— such that was a glimpse into his credentials.
“Who is he, this King of Glory? The LORD of the heavenly armies— He is the King of Glory.” Hallelujah!
This was ‘the LORD of the heavenly armies’, or in some translations, ‘the Lord of Host’. When the Lord of Host begins to speak, he speaks from the council of his armies and in his position as the LORD of Host, he only comes to bring Judgement on a tongues, people, nation or individuals.
When he appeared before the gates, it was his blood that read out his credentials. The blood was actualizing better things for us on the one hand and on another, judging the princes of Hades. And when they were not able to veto his bill (even of his finished works on the cross), they not only dispossessed themselves of the authority they stole from Adam but also bow to the lord, acknowledging the fact that he came in ‘the name of the God’.
We must understand that ‘the name of the lord’ does not always refer to the name of Jesus but that they are distinct from each other sometimes.
Jesus said, “as the father has sent me, so also have I sent you” and in the book of Revelation earlier in this discourse, we read that he promise to give unto them that overcometh, “the name of His God” and “His new name”.
Christ painstakingly differentiated the names so that you will understand that though he is equal with God and was sent from God, he has his own name to the measure to which he was willed absolute authority by the Father. However, he also explain that he and the father are one and in the epistles, we read that, ‘he that is joined with Christ is one spirit with him’. Another scripture says, “our lives are hid in Christ and Christ in God”.
So therefore, it means that just as the gates could neither deny him entry nor stop him from redeeming the captives because of his ‘blessedness’ which was as a result of his coming in the ‘name’ of God’s authority, even so, are beneficiaries of his blessing, endowed with the same authority that he has. And, more so, it is the degree to which we have found the authority of his blessedness that we can exercise rulership over principalities and powers, thrones and dominions.
Consequently, when we say, ‘blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Adonai’, we are bearing witness to the sonship of Christ and the authority he received as a result of the Father’s Lordship over him; because it is only a son that can submit himself to Fatherhood in obedience to the end that he can be exalted in the fulness of time; and, only men on whom the son has greatly exercised His lordship upon can also manifest in the blessedness of His coming .
It is unwise for any one among us to appear in the marketplaces of the world with just the letter, because It killeth. But, the blessedness of the name of the lord is in the spirit behind the name.
The spirit ensures that he enforces all that is in the will of God through men. However, before he begins to use men he must have to make them useful through the administration of death on their soulish life; after which he will quicken them to the life that reflects that of the Christ, even though this may take many years of trodding in the winepress.
Dear man of God, If your life has not accepted the blessing of his Lordship, your ministry shall be an effort in futility.
When the Disciple cried out, ‘that I may know him and the power of resurrection’. The knowing he was speaking about was not something he was hoping to acquire through some religious stuff, doctrine or dogma but the experience of the blessedness of Christ’s lordship over his life. Since it is expected that any seed which is been sown should bear fruit, the fruit of our resurrection shall also be determined by how much we have accepted Jesus as ‘our LORD’ first and then as ‘our God’.
We must be very careful to understand that we cannot come in his blessedness if we individually or corporately reject his Lordship over our lives. If it were not so, there will be no need for the Bible to have taken time to capture the story of the 7 sons of Sceva, because even Demons recognize that: Blessed is he which cometh in the name of the Lord!