The Donald Barnhouse Estate Building Story


In our daily meditations, we are continuing to look at the theme of Jesus being our Good Shepherd:

Jesus said, “I know my sheep, and my sheep know me” (John 10:14). The Lord is intimately acquainted with us and knows us inside out. Theologians have a big word for this ability of God to know everything about us; they say that God is omniscient. He knows all things at all times. There is nothing God does not know. He never had to learn it; He doesn’t have to read up on the day’s happenings. He is not surprised by anything. The Lord Jesus, being God in the flesh, has the same perfect knowledge and complete understanding of all that goes on. Perfect knowledge is the accurate possession of the facts. Perfect wisdom is the proper application of the facts, and perfect understanding means that He fully perceives and interprets the facts. Omniscience makes God infallible; He is incapable of error or omission (Psalm 139:1-10). How beautiful to know that, even though He knows everything about us, He still loves us and cares for us. He indeed is the Good Shepherd—the lovely One!

The Gospel came to the Jewish people first, and then in Acts chapter ten, God’s plan was enacted to call the Gentiles into obedience to the Gospel, too. The promise came to Abraham that "all families on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3). Jesus said:

16I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

In verse sixteen, the "other" sheep that Jesus is referring to are the Gentiles, the sheep that are not of the same "sheep pen" of Hebrew origin. The promised seed of Abraham, the Lord Jesus Christ, will make Jew and Gentile into one flock of sheep and one Shepherd. This prophecy does not mean that God forsook the original flock. He said that there would be one flock and one shepherd. All believers will become one flock, Jew, and Gentile together. He would lay His life down for His sheep that they might receive forgiveness of sins and newness of life. He would lay down His life voluntarily. We give Satan too much credit for the crucifixion. Yes, he is culpable or guilty for what he did at the cross, but it was God's plan right from the beginning of the world.

Some time ago, I heard a story that Doctor Donald Grey Barnhouse once shared. It was about a certain man who had a beautiful estate upon which were some magnificent trees in which this man took great pride. It was his custom to walk among the trees and gaze upon their beauty. This man had an enemy who hated him sorely; this enemy was always seeking ways of annoying the master of the estate. At last, the enemy conceived a plan, which he thought would greatly wound the heart of the proprietor. He decided to go to the estate in the dark of the night and cut down one of the most beautiful trees. He laid his plans well. He took with him an ax and saw, and he began his work. All night he toiled until his muscles were sore and his hands were blistered.

As morning dawned, he saw the proprietor riding with a companion toward the trees where he had been toiling. He redoubled his efforts, and with all that he could, he worked as diligently as he was able to do so, and the great tree began to creak and to totter. As it gained momentum in the fall, the enemy started to shout in triumph. One of the branches, however, came toward him and pinned him to the ground in agony. His hatred, however, was intense, and he jeered at the proprietor who approached him. The owner of the estate called his companion to him and said to the enemy, "You thought to do me great harm, but I want to show you what you have done. This man with me is the architect of a beautiful home that I intend to build here amid these trees. To make room for the house, it was necessary to cut down one of these trees. Look at this plan. The tree upon which you have toiled all night and which is now the cause of your death is the very tree that must be cut down to make room for my house. You have worked for me without knowing it and your toil is for nothing and bitterness is your food in death."

Satan thought he was so smart when he tried to get one over on God by crucifying His Son, the Lord Jesus. His effort, though, was foreseen and foreordained of God to bring many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10). Jew and Gentile believers will sparkle like jewels to the Lord one day before our Shepherd:

The LORD, their God, will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown (Zechariah 9:16).

Keith Thomas

Shortened from the more extended study at the following link: Jesus, the Good Shepherd