In John 10:11,14,15, Jesus said –
I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me … and I lay down My life for the sheep.
This is for those who are wandering aimlessly without a shepherd to lead and guide them. This is to tell you that there is One Who wants to be your Shepherd and Guide Who wants to keep you in His care and lead you all the way home to be with Him forever. It is also for those who have wandered from the fold, following their own lead. My plea is that you would return to the fold of the One who laid down His life for you.
Let us look at the Good Shepherd.
He says, “I know my own” and He knows that “My own know Me.” He also says, “I lay down My life for the sheep.” He further goes on to say in the same passage, “even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father.” That is how He knows His own; that’s how intimate He is with His own!
O joyful passage this, “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold: I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd” (v 16). We are the “other” sheep who have heard His sweet voice saying, “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28). He asserted, “I MUST bring them … they WILL become one flock with one shepherd.” Sweet Shepherd of our souls, how beautiful You are! You desired to be our Good Shepherd; you desired us to be Your sheep. You desired to possess us! O sweet thought. We KNOW that with such a Good Shepherd we shall “not be in want” (Psalm 23:1). You will provide ALL of our needs.
Let us, for a moment, get a picture of the shepherd of Jesus’ day and time:
The duties of a shepherd in an unenclosed country like Palestine were very onerous.
“In early morning he led forth the flock from the fold, marching at its head to the spot where they were to be pastured. Here he watched them all day, taking care that none of the sheep strayed, and if any for a time eluded his watch and wandered away from the rest, seeking diligently till he found and brought it back. In those lands sheep require to be supplied regularly with water, and the shepherd for this purpose has to guide them either to some running stream or to wells dug in the wilderness and furnished with troughs. At night he brought the flock home to the fold, counting them as they passed under the rod at the door to assure himself that none were missing. Nor did his labours always end with sunset. Often he had to guard the fold through the dark hours from the attack of wild beasts, or the wily attempts of the prowling thief (see 1 Samuel 17:34).” Deane’s David (Easton).
So, we get a picture of what Jesus was talking about and what He meant when He said, “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me … and I lay down My life for the sheep.”
Being in the fold, we hear His voice every morning calling us by name (if we are sensitive to His call and are aware of Him) and we are reassured of His care throughout the day. We know that He will take care of all our needs (both physical and spiritual – more particularly spiritual). We are safe in His abiding presence knowing that He will take care of us and deliver us from all harm (evil) that would threaten our souls. His rod will keep the enemy at bay and His staff will pull us back to the fold when we go astray (see Psalm 23:4). Since He is our Good Shepherd, He knows what is best for us and He provides according to our needs. He “restores our soul and leads us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” – because He wants only good for us which comes by following Jesus in the right path, the path that He has prepared for us. He overwhelms us with spiritual blessings (Psalm 23:5,6) and even material ones! And, as long as we remain in the fold, we are assured of forever living with our Shepherd (Psalm 23:6). Such is the Good Shepherd’s care and concern for us.
O blessed Saviour! Can we doubt your tender care and concern for us after You have demonstrated Your love by laying down Your life for us? Nay, we are reassured of your compassion for “they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam 3:23).
When You return to take us home to be with You forever, we know that we “will receive the crown of glory that doesn’t fade away” (1 Peter 5:4). Precious Saviour, keep us in Your fold forever.