This week’s passage takes us to the hills of Judah to meet, “the chief Shepherd…” He is the one who died to save his sheep, rose from the dead to give us life, the one who will come to lead us home, and the one who will crown his sheep with, “glory that fadeth not away.” He told those who would receive it –
“I am the good shepherd:
- the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep …
- The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
- I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
- As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father:
- and I lay down my life for the sheep … No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.
- I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father …
- And I give unto them eternal life.” From John 10:11-18,28
Today’s post concerns the Shepherd, who He is, what He has done for the sheep, and what He promises the sheep. And to save confusion about the sheep, we are told –
“And ye my flock,
the flock of my pasture, are men,
and I am your God, saith the Lord God.”
Identifying the good shepherd;
“I am … good –
The rich young ruler’s cloak gave him wings as he ran to fall at the feet of the one he believed could settle the doubt tearing his heart apart.
“Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
And Jesus said unto him,
Why callest thou me good?
There is none good but one,
that is, God.”
Jesus is the good Shepherd. The only one who is God. Another, who only, knew what Christ’s enemies said of him, proclaimed at Jesus’ mock trial –
“Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people,
I find no fault in this man.” Luke 23:4
The centurion witnessed the gruesome death of Jesus, as he had witnessed many others in his line of duty. But of Jesus, he said –
“Truly this man was the Son of God.”
The work of the good shepherd:
He – giveth his life for the sheep …
No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.
I have power to lay it down,
and I have power to take it again –
Pilate trembled at the words of the chief priests and officers. Was it true? Did this man Jesus claim to be the Son of God. As a Roman, Pilate knew the wrath of the gods his countrymen feared. He knew of the endless sacrifices and appeasements made to gain their favor. None seemed to make a difference. But this man, whom he found no fault in – could he be the Son of God – the Jews God? He returned to Jesus to hear the words from his own mouth. But Jesus did not speak for or against the charge.
“Then saith Pilate unto him,
Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?
Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above; therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.” John 19:10,11
Pilate turned Jesus over to the crowd to be crucified.
The lion attacked. He ripped at the Shepherd’s flesh, seeking to destroy him. The Shepherd did not fight back. He would not win this battle as David had in defending his sheep. Sin’s evil hand shredded the Shepherd’s back. His ripped and ragged body would save the sheep of his fold from sin’s torturous death. We would reap reward at his expense. After the march to Golgotha, after the nails were hammered into his hands and feet, after six hours of hanging on the tree of cursing –
“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst…
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said,
It is finished:
and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
The Good Shepherd laid down his life for his sheep, past, present, and future. As he laid it down, he would take it up again. He appeared to the apostle John exiled on the isle of Patmos, and said –
“Fear not; I am the first and the last:
I am he that liveth, and was dead;
and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen;
and have the keys of hell and of death.”
Jesus Christ is the living Son of God, the Shepherd of the souls who will enter into the life he died to give his sheep. We are the sheep.
Next time we hope to look at the personal relationship between the Shepherd and his sheep. Until then may we be found praising him for laying down his life for us and rewarding us with his victory over death.