To him the porter opens; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out.…
He always comes to "lead," never to linger and stay. If He finds one so wounded and torn and near to death as to be unable to follow, He will lay that sheep on His shoulder. If He finds a lamb faint and homeless, He will "carry it in His bosom." But in most instances He gives from the first the strength to follow, and expects it to be used. "He leadeth them out" — "out," of course, from the whole natural sinful life, from all its darkness and misery, into the light and joy of acceptance; "out" of infantine feebleness into manly strength; "out" of narrow views into wider; "out" of first experiences into more matured; "out" of mistakes and disappointments into wiser ways and better fortunes; "out" of dreamy indolence into those activities by which alone it can be escaped; "out" of overstrained activity into some quiet hour or time of "refreshing from the presence of the Lord;" "out" of besetting sin into waiting duty. Sometimes you think if the Good Shepherd were really leading you it would be into other fields than those through which you have of late been passing. Be careful here. I have seen a shepherd, on a bitter snowy day, gathering all his sheep carefully to the windy side of the hill. The silly creatures, left to themselves, would all take the other side; they would go straight to the most dangerous places, to the sheltered spots where the deep snow wreaths form silently, in which they would soon find at once a refuge and a grave. On such a day the life of some of the sheep depends on facing the blast. The shepherd would not let the youngest, he would not let the weakest one of the flock, lie down in the shelter. For the very love he bears it, "he calls it by name, and leads it out," or drives, or carries — even in such an hour as that — facing the bitter wind and the blinding snow! And if we knew the personal love of Christ, we shall not be so apt to distinguish and select certain special modes for its manifestation as alone suitable and proper. One mode will seem to us almost as good as another if it be the one that He selects, and we shall hear the loving voice in the darkness as well as in the light; in the roar of the wintry storm as in the hush of the summer silence.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
He goeth before them. — This is a sight which may still be seen in the East. With us sheep are driven; with the Orientals they are led. The shepherd goes on before, and the sheep follow after, much as dogs follow their master in the West, but without the briskness and vigour of dogs. It is not unusual to see the shepherd leading the sheep thus, and at the same time carrying upon his shoulder some tender youngling of the flock.
I. CHRIST PRECEDES —
1. To open the way.
2. To present an example.
3. To destroy the enemies.
II. HIS FLOCK SHOULD FOLLOW —
(S. S. Times.)
Parallel VersesKJV: To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.