Sitting with Jesus: The Good Shepherd Reading: John 10:1 – 30
In John’s Gospel, chapter 10:1-30 we are given a wonderful word picture of Jesus, who is, “The Good Shepherd,” and of us, His sheep. V3b reveals 3 Key Truths about the relationship between Good Shepherd and sheep. Jesus says, “He calls His own sheep by name, and leads them out.”
- It’s a Personal Relationship!
- It’s a Private Relationship!
- It’s a Public Relationship!
Note the phrase “He….. leads them out.” In the Middle East Butchers drive the sheep…. Shepherds lead the sheep – they go ahead of them.
The Good Shepherd Offers His Sheep:-
- Salvation: (v9a) Jesus says, “I Am The Gate; Whoever enters through Me will be saved.”
- Sustenance: (v9b) “They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” Bezrah Pasture – is the best; the lush; succulent grass. The food that we need for every challenge, eventuality, tragedy, joyful celebration is promised by Jesus. He is our Food for Life!
- Surety: (v10) “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” This is Eternal Life. Not just a life lived on earth at the earthly human level. But a God inspired life lived on earth at the earthly human level. But a God inspired life from an Eternal perspective, that begins when we become Christians. For is Christ we never die – we live – Eternally. There is more, far more to come. This is not all that there is. We need to decide to live in, and with, an Eternal Perspective.
- Selfishness: (v11) “I Am The Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His Life for the Sheep.”
We understand this verse, looking back, to the cross. So, we have a much deeper knowledge than those who listened to Jesus on the day that He first spoke those words. Having said that, when they realised that Jesus laid down His life by permitting Himself to be nailed to the cross, His Words would have dramatically come to life in their full meaning – for some of them.
Hallelujah! What a selfless Saviour!
- Shepherding: (v12-13) “The hired hand is not the Shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the flock and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man run away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”
The Shepherd/Owner suffers personal loss when an adversary like a jackal, hyena, wolf or bear attacks and kills a sheep. David the shepherd boy, “Shepherded the sheep,” his sheep, killing the wolf and the bear. In doing so he was practicing, with his sling and stones, to fight Goliath. David is a type, in the Old Testament, of Jesus The Shepherd King.
(v14b) Jesus says, “I Know My Sheep.” That is intimately, each one, individually. Psalm 139 tells us that, “He saw us fashioned in our mother’s womb.” He alone can shepherd us with the understanding and ability of our “Greater Shepherd.” He protects, keeps, guides. That is Divine Shepherding!
- Sensitivity: (v27a) “My sheep listen to My Voice.”
Jesus is sensitive to who we are, where we are at, who He knows we are becoming, where He knows we are heading. Out of Divine Knowledge “He speaks.” Out of our knowledge of who He is – our Divine Shepherd – we listen to His Voice. He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11… “I know the plans I have for you, declares The Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you Hope and a Future.”
The key for us is to become sensitive to The Lord’s Voice.
- Strategy: (v27b) “I know them and they follow Me!”
Obedience is better than sacrifice.” (1 Sam 15:22)
Jesus has been saying for 21 centuries, to His Disciples, “Come follow Me!” And for 21 centuries His Disciples have been following His strategy for the expression of Jesus’ Life, “Building His Church,” one life at a time.
In these Covid days, as “we seek Him with all of our heart…. we will find Him”…. and understand His strategy for our lives because, He says, “I know them and they follow Me!”
- Shelter: (v28a) “I give them Eternal Life and they shall never perish.”
Jesus is our Shelter!
Our Family Prayer opens with these words…
“Whoever dwells in The Shelter of The Most High will rest in The Shadow of The Almighty. I will say of The Lord He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God, in Whom I will trust (Psalm 91:1-2)
Jesus, The Word, and His Word, are our confidences. The Shepherd who gives us Eternal Shelter enables us to declare that we “shall never perish.”
- Security: (v28b) “No one will snatch them out of My Hand,”
On the day of our Promotion into The Lord’s Presence we know that, “To be absent from the body is to be present with The Lord.” (2 Cor 5:8)
This is our certain Hope upon physical death. Paul goes on to say (v9- 10) “So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each of us must receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, good or bad.”
This is inferred rather than detailed in John 10, because, The Shepherd smells of the sheep, and, the sheep know the smell of the Shepherd.
There is a footnote in my Amplified Bible regarding Psalm 23:5b “You anoint my head with oil”…. It reads “It is difficult for those living in a temperate climate to appreciate, but it was customary in hot climates to anoint the body with oil to protect it from excessive perspiration. When mixed with perfume, the oil imparted a delightfully refreshing and invigorating sensation. Athletes anointed their bodies as a matter of course before running a race. As the body, therefore, anointed with oil was refreshed, invigorated and better fitted for action, so The Lord would anoint His sheep with The Holy Spirit whom oil symbolises, to fit them to engage more freely in service and run in the way He directs, in Heavenly fellowship with Him.
“The Lord is my (Good) Shepherd” Psalm 23:1a
Psalm 23 – (Amplified Version)
“The Lord is my Shepherd (to feed, guide and shield me);
I shall not lack.
He makes me lie down in (fresh, tender) green pastures, He leads me beside the still and restful waters.
He refreshes and restores my life – my self;
He leads me in paths of righteousness (uprightness and right standing with Him – not for my earning it, but) for His Name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the (deep, sunless) valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil; for You are with me; Your rod (to protect) and Your staff (to guide) they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil;
My (brimming) cup runs over.
Surely, or only goodness, mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life; and through the length of days The House of The Lord (and His Presence) shall be my dwelling place.”