“…I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.” – John 10:7-10.
We know Jesus is the Good Shepherd, but how are we like the sheep? Sheep have no real natural defenses, are easy targets for predators, and rely on shepherds for protection and care. Sheep also are not very smart and are given to herd mentality. They tend to follow each other blindly, not thinking about where they are going or the dangers that might be waiting for them. Being called a sheep is usually not a flattering statement. But what if Jesus called you a sheep? Better yet, what if Jesus called you His sheep? Suddenly being a sheep takes on a whole different meaning.
When Jesus referred to himself as the Good Shepherd, the religious leaders thought He was demon-possessed and out of His mind. A group of Jews approached Him in the temple to ask plainly if He was the Messiah. As usual, they were looking for a way to trick Jesus into saying something that would discredit Him or get Him in trouble with the Roman authorities. Jesus saw right through them. When pressed by His enemies to tell them whether or not He is the Christ. He says, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep.” (John 10:25-26) Jesus couldn’t have made it any more clear that He was the Christ, the promised Savior. The sick were healed. Demons were cast out. The dead were raised, and repentance and forgiveness of sins were being preached to all.
Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross to pay the price for our sin. Jesus did all of this so that we might experience how good it truly is to be one of His sheep. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.” (John 10:26-29)
John 10:14 says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me.” Jesus knows me. He knows when I’m hurting. He knows when I’m sad. He knows when I’m anxious and afraid. Just like a shepherd wouldn’t leave his sheep no matter what, Jesus won’t leave me either. He will be there to pull me back close to Him and to guide my way. The second part of the verse, “and they know me,” reminds us to listen for His voice. It reminds me to spend time in prayer and in His Word. A sheep knows the shepherd’s voice because of the time they have spent together. This is the same for our relationship with Jesus. The more time we spend with Him, the more clearly we will hear His voice.
We need the Good Shepherd. Whether you’ve been a Christian a long time or a short time, we need to constantly surrender the leadership of our life to God.
- When you think of a shepherd, what comes to mind?
- In the Good Shepherd, you are both fully known and fully loved. How does being fully known and fully loved give you security? Hope?