The Good Shepherd
“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: “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. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd. “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” (John 10:1-18 NLT)
This passage is so rich. Since we are still in the Advent season, it is appropriate to focus on the One for whom we celebrate. Jesus is teaching about Himself here. He gives Himself the name “The Good Shepherd.” Much could be said of the sheep, but what does Jesus say about Himself? Here is what’s on the surface:
- He calls his own sheep by name.
- He leads them.
- He gathers His sheep.
- He walks ahead of them.
- His voice is familiar to His sheep.
- He is the way of salvation.
- He gives a rich and satisfying life.
- He is a good shepherd.
- He sacrifices Himself for His sheep voluntarily.
We are the helpless, hopeless sheep in this story. Isn’t it wonderful we have a loving and good Shepherd! If you are feeling lost or hurt or hopeless, be gathered in and held tight by the Sheherd. If you are His, He knows your name. He has already laid down His life for you. By God’s power, He took His life back up again. Let His voice speak to you today. May you know the rich and satisfying life of the Shepherd.