Don’t all roads lead to God? Many people spend their life on the road in search of something. There are many different roads to choose. Each road offers something different – a different way to live, a different destination, different sights along the way. We all get the choice to travel down the road that we think is best for us.
When we travel, whether by walking or driving, we want to make sure we know where we’re going. We plan a route, either by looking at a map or typing the destination into our modern day Sat Navs. However, for all of our planning sometimes we can lose our way or sense of direction. Have you ever been lost? It can be a frightening experience.
Friends once told me how they went walking in Dartmoor National Park when the fog surrounded them suddenly. They lost their sense of direction and couldn’t see through the thickness of the fog. Mobile phones were useless – there was no signal. They had to wait for the fog to lift whilst keeping their eyes open for a familiar landmark. It unsettled them and worried them greatly at the time.
When I went walking in Yellowstone National Park there were flags dotted around to mark the way. At a particular point I was not able to find the next flag and I was off the beaten track for some time. Where was the flag? What made things more scary was there were bison not too far away…
Another time I was camping in California and it was snowing and dark. The nearest portaloo was about a three minute walk along a trail and up a hill. I had my head torch on and went up with two other volunteers who I was camping with. When I had finished using the facility, they started to run on ahead because the wind had picked up and it felt like a blizzard had just started. Snow surrounded me and the wind knocked into me and I could hardly see anything – it was pitch black. My heart raced and I just stumbled in the night against the snow. When I got back to my tent I was cold, crying and crazy scared.
Relief, calm, joy, peace, thankfulness… these are some of the words I would use when I am no longer lost, but have found the way again! Perhaps you may not have been physically lost before, but I am sure you have misplaced something important to you. A lost wallet, phone, sentimental letter, a phone number, a memory, the keys… that moment of panic when your face turns white and you clam up. If you are lucky enough to find the lost item, the above words may apply to you also.
Until we look to Jesus we are like lost sheep. We are sheep that have gone astray and followed our own way. This is a bit like choosing a road that doesn’t lead to God. We become lost. Rather than getting angry and vindictive that we have chosen another way, God looks on us and sees us as sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). His mercy goes deeper than anything we could ever do.
Jesus came into the world like a shepherd to guide and look after sheep. He is described as ‘the good shepherd’. Through the cross, Jesus laid down his life for us all. We are the sheep that he died for. Why is this significant?
In Nick Page’s book ‘Explorer’s Notes: The Bible’ he talks about the importance of God as a shepherd and the personal relationship between God (shepherd) and us (his sheep):
‘The shepherd was personally involved with the care of his sheep. He would lead them to good, rich pasture and provide them with still wells and pools where they could safely drink. He would lead them along safe paths through dangerous, dark ravines. He would carry a rod with which to beat off wild animals, and a staff – a shepherd’s crook – to control the flock. This strong image of care and guidance was…used by prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah and that Jesus would apply to himself.’ (page 34)
One Way – Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd
Jesus said: ““I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). There is one way to come to God the Father. That is through Jesus Christ. Will we ignore God’s grace and mercy of providing a shepherd to lead us the right way – the only way?
‘Then Jesus told them this parable: ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:3-7
It’s a big deal to God and the whole of heaven when one sinner places his trust in Jesus Christ. The parable of the lost sheep reveals how God restlessly pursues and loves us. He would seek and find one lost sheep and joyfully carry it back home with the rest. In the same way, Jesus Christ seeks and saves lost souls on this earth:
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10
Nothing but God’s love for us can save our lost souls.
So what are we to do? Remain lost in this world without the safety of a pasture provided by God? Are we to battle the evil of this world alone, or trust God to protect us with his rod and staff? We can trust Jesus as the Way for the rest of our lives knowing that we are sought out – God, the good shepherd, sent to take our place and lay down his perfect, blameless life for his sheep. He has come for us and will lead us to green pastures and still waters when we follow Him.
Let’s keep our gaze steadfast towards Jesus – the Way, the Truth, the Life.
Here are some verses with that in mind:
- ‘Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…’ Philippians 3:13
- ‘Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.’ Proverbs 4:25-26
- “The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger.” Job 17:9
- ‘…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…’ Hebrews 12:1-2