“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatter them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Fathers knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:11-15
When we began this study on El Roi at the beginning of the week, we discovered that the Angel of the LORD that Hagar met with in the wilderness was the pre-incarnate Jesus. We have come full circle and in this passage Jesus himself is teaching about being our good shepherd. The first thing he says here is the shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. This would have had significance to the Jewish people of the day. They knew what a shepherd did and they knew the many ways that a good shepherd laid down his life for his sheep. What they didn’t know yet was the way Jesus would lay down His life for us.
The next line of this passage could be kind of confusing if you don’t remember that Jesus spoke to them always in parables. Here he is talking about the thief, Satan, anything that tries to disguise himself as good and giving good gifts to us. In John 10:10 Jesus had already told them “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy.” One thing to note here, Satan will entice you, tempt you, lead you down wrong paths and he will leave you there. There are times that we feel led into hard things with Jesus, but even though they are hard, he will never leave us. I have gone through seasons that I have questioned at the time God’s presence and why he would allow the circumstance in my life, but when I look back I can always see God’s hand. And many times during a hard season of life, I will just pray “God, I need to see you”. And He always shows Himself to me, if I will just look. It may not be the end or the answer I want but He will show Himself and give me assurance He is walking with me.
Jesus says here “I know my own and my own know me.” I am not sure exactly how shepherds shepherd sheep today. But I know I have done a couple of studies on shepherds back in the days of Jesus. The people of the day would have known this too when Jesus spoke these words. It was not uncommon for shepherds to name each and every one of his sheep. He knew them all by name and in turn the sheep would know the voice of their shepherd. When shepherds might be taking their flocks through a town there would be communal sheep pens where they could store their sheep overnight. In the morning the shepherd would come to the gate of the pen and would call their sheep. While there may be several flocks of sheep only the ones who knew his shepherds voice would come. But how did they know his voice? From being with their shepherd over time.
You see friends the way we will know our shepherd, our El Roi is by spending time with him. The shepherd will call us by name and he will seek us out but it is the time we spend with Him that will cultivate our ear to know His voice. In verse 15 of this passage it says ~ “Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep.” Knowing Jesus is knowing the Father. Just as God found Hagar in the wilderness and just as He led Elijah into the wilderness and then stood with him on Mount Carmel, our Jesus will seek and search for us, He will lead and guide us. He has already laid down His life for us. He sees us!