Following Jesus

“He… leadeth them out… He goeth before them, and the sheep follow him.” –John 10:3-4
The oriental shepherd does not drive his sheep, but leads them wherever he wants to take them. At night he leads them into the fold for safety. In the morning he leads them out to pasture. So Christ never drives his people; he goes before them and leads them, and they follow him.

Sheep need to be led. They have no such instinct for finding their own way as most other animals have. Christ’s people are just like them. Sheep wander away, and a lost sheep never finds its way back. “All we like sheep have gone astray”, and we never could find the way home again if the Good Shepherd did not seek us and lead us back. Christ leads his people gently. He goes before his sheep. He is very thoughtful for the weak ones. “He gathers the lambs in his arms, and carries them in his bosom.” He never leads his sheep too fast. He takes them sometimes over rough and dangerous ways, but he never loses any of them. Not a sheep of Christ’s was ever yet lost by the way under his guidance, even in the most perilous paths.

An old guide said to a tourist in the Alps, who was afraid to trust himself to the guide’s hand to be helped over some perilous ledge, “This hand never lost a man.” Christ never lost a man. He has led millions home over this world’s paths, but not one of them ever perished in the way. “Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and not one of them is lost.”

Christ leads his sheep to the pastures and by the still waters. Sometimes he leads them over deserts, and along thorny paths, and through dark gorges; but he is always just before them, and where he is they are safe. At the last he leads them through the valley of the shadows into the heavenly fold. There they shall be safe eternally, and be blessed in his love.

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