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The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd

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Published by glennpease
GEORGE HOWARD WILKINSON, D.D.


" I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am
KNown of Mine, even as the Father knoweth <Me, and as I
know the Father : and I lay down My life for the sheep"
S. JOHN x. 14, 15.
GEORGE HOWARD WILKINSON, D.D.


" I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am
KNown of Mine, even as the Father knoweth <Me, and as I
know the Father : and I lay down My life for the sheep"
S. JOHN x. 14, 15.

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Published by: glennpease on Mar 09, 2013
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09/28/2013

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THE GOOD SHEPHERD
GEORGE HOWARD WILKINSON, D.D." I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and amKNown of Mine, even as the Father knoweth &lt;Me, and as Iknow the Father : and I lay down My life for the sheep"S. JOHN x. 14, 15.We have blessed be His Name ! a living CHRIST ;not merely One Who died on Calvary, but One Who isalive for evermore. And this LORD JESUS CHRIST, in theglory of His Ascension Kingdom, has taught us by theHOLY GHOST that He possesses an instinctive knowledgeof every single need of every individual man and woman,rich and poor, learned and ignorant : all alike can restassured of perfect intuitive sympathy existing for themin the heart of the LORD JESUS CHRIST.Such was the blessed thought which we have alreadyconsidered. The teaching for to-day is somewhat moredifficult. Pray GOD the HOLY SPIRIT to enable me soto give it to you, clearly and definitely, that one grandthought (for the thought is grand, beyond the power of human words to express) may be lodged in your hearts,to bring forth the fruit in GOD S own time, for JESUSCHRIST S sake.Our LORD tells us here that He knows His sheep.How did He gain this knowledge ? The superficial158 THE MESSAGE OF PARDONanswer is easily given : " Of course GOD knows everything." My brethren, that is a true answer, but an imperfect one. Our LORD JESUS CHRIST seems to be herespeaking not of His Godhead, but of the knowledgethat He had gained as Man ; " very Man " as we say inthe Communion Office, " of the substance of the VirginMary His Mother " ; made like unto us in everything,sin only excepted, that He might become a merciful andfaithful High Priest.How, then, did He gain this knowledge as Man ?I believe that you have the answer to that question,or at all events, one answer, in the words of the text :" I lay down My life for the sheep." The HOLY GHOSTteaches us, further, that we are to imitate this layingdown of the life of JESUS CHRIST. " Hereby perceive wethe love of GOD," says S. John, " because He laid downHis life for us " ; and, therefore, on the principle of following the example of CHRIST, "we ought to lay downour lives for the brethren." In the Baptismal Servicewe are told that the following of the example of CHRISTis the profession of a Christian. As the soldier has his
 
profession, so you and I have ours clearly set before us,namely, to follow the example of our Saviour CHRIST,and to be made like unto Him, the Incarnate GOD, ourKing, Who alone has the right to command our loyaltyand our allegiance.Yes ! " Because He laid 1 down His life for us, weought to lay down our lives for the brethren." TheGreek words are the same in both cases. You see whatis meant ? We talk of giving up our life to a pursuit ;we talk of being devoted to some one, and so forth.What do we mean ? We mean that state of mind inwhich we are so possessed by affection for a person, bydevotion to a country, by interest in any pursuit, that wegive up ourselves absolutely to it, losing all thought of THE GOOD SHEPHERD 159ourselves, and (so to speak) living only for that personor object to which we are devoted.This laying down of the life, this devotion of ourselves to any object or person, is the special means, evenin earthly matters, by which knowledge is acquired andinfluence gained over our fellow-men. For instance,there are many who have given up their lives to society ;and just as we admire a perfect statue, so there is something to admire in their career the early training, theweary nights, the struggling to enter into one houseafter another, the perpetual watching, and the instinctiveknowledge gained at last of the right thing to do on alloccasions. This is a low illustration, but a true one, of the power that results from absolutely giving ourselvesup to anything. I confess that to my own mind it doesnot appear a very noble ambition, for the man createdin the image of GOD. I am afraid that, in the landbeyond the grave, the most perfect manners may appearsomewhat awkward, amid the glorious company of theangels. In the awful sarcasm of the New Testament," they have their reward." GOD gives it, or allows it tocome to them, according to natural laws. They knowsociety because they devoted their life to it.Then rising higher, call to your mind that man whostood out, some years ago, as a light to the young menof London who, though with every earthly advantage,settled himself down in his lonely lodging, in order that,by living amongst the people he might gain a real knowledge of them that he might learn their way of thinking,the way in which they looked at our social problems, andregarded the varied difficulties by which every life isbeset. Remember the power that that man has gained,how he entered into the very heart of those working-men, and was able to speak of them, not as the massof so-called representatives of the working class like to
 
160 THE MESSAGE OF TARDONspeak, in absolute ignorance of them except so far aswhat they may have gathered from some highly-colourednewspaper ! He knew them, because he had givenhimself up to them ; because he had died to London,died to society, died even to political life, that he mightenter into the heart of those men who had been, likehimself, created in the image of GOD, and baptized intothe Body of CHRIST.If you go through the entire range of workers,whether religious or secular, you will always find thatthe secret of real knowledge, as to the needs of anyclass, is devotion to that class.Here, then, we find the answer to our question,How did CHRIST gain the knowledge of His sheep ?By laying down His life for them day by day. Are ourhearts still so hard that they are not softened when wehear the King of kings and LORD of lords, not resting inthe quiet of heaven, not remaining with the FATHER andwith all the holy angels, but coming down to earth, tosave us : to save the man if such a one should havestrayed into the church to-day who hardly ever prays,and always turns his back on Holy Communion ? Haveyou no hearts left ? Even if you are conscious of nodeeper feeling, have you no response of enthusiasticadmiration, at any rate, for a GOD thus dying, hour byhour, and day by day, that He might win the confidenceof a degraded humanity, and redeem it from the powerof the world and the flesh and the devil ?If you take up the New Testament, you will see thislove of JESUS CHRIST everywhere manifested. You findHim, for example, risking even His own reputation.Not that I recommend this ; many a man, with a sortof Quixotic desire to do good, has imperilled that whichhe had no right to endanger. But CHRIST, in thegrandeur of His self-sacrifice, risked His reputation,THE GOOD SHEPHE ( RT&gt; 161dared to be called the "gluttonous" man and the "wine-bibber " ; was not ashamed to be called the " friend of publicans and sinners " ; touching, speaking to, sittingdown at the table with, and listening to the ordinaryconversation of men whom the Pharisee would not havetouched with the very hem of his garment. And whywas all this ? It was that He might gain a knowledgeof them, as Man ; that He might be able to know whatthey felt, what were the burdens pressing on them, thesorrows by which their hearts were crushed. " Thisman receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." Blessed

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