The Good Shepherd


by Mike Ratliff

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.” (John 10:1-2 ESV)

In John Bunyan’s classic allegory, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian encounters two interesting men shortly after his own salvation. These two men are named Formalist and Hypocrisy. He saw them enter the Narrow Way by climbing over the wall which bordered the Left Hand of the path. Christian asks them what they are doing and where they are going. They reply that they were born in the land of Vain-Glory and that they are going for Praise to Mount Sion. Christian asks, “Why came you not in at the Gate which standeth at the beginning of of the Way? Know you not that it is written, That he that cometh not in by the Door, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a Thief and a Robber?” They replied, “…to go to the Gate for entrance, was by all their countrymen counted too far about; and that therefore their usual way was to make a short cut of it, and to climb over the wall, as they had done.” Christian asked, “But will it not be counted a trespass against the Lord of the City, whither we are bound, thus to violate his revealed Will?” They replied, “That as for that, he needed not to trouble his head thereabout; for what they did, they had Custom for, and could produce, if need were, Testimony that would witness it, for more than a thousand years.” Bunyan wrote this in the 17th Century from a prison cell, He was imprisoned for preaching and pastoring a Church, but he was not licensed by the Church of England since he was a Baptist. God had allowed Bunyan to suffer over 12 years of prison for the crime of preaching without a license.  Continue reading