“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.” John 10:11
Jesus is staying with His theme that he started with the last I AM statement of shepherding sheep. The people he was speaking to would know shepherding as a profession and they would also have known scripture and that famous Psalm that referred to the Lord as shepherd. Jesus started immediately making the correlation that a hired hand would have tucked tail and run at the sign of danger to the sheep. But a good shepherd would lay down his life for his sheep. A good shepherd would not leave the sheep in danger but would face the danger even to the point of risking his own life. Jesus was also foretelling His own destiny of the cross, as He would be laying down His life for us.
Jesus repeats this statement in verse 14.
“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.” John 10:14-15
Every step Jesus took when He was in His earthly ministry was in preparation for the cross. Can you imagine? He knew what was coming the entire time. He knew where it would lead and what His purpose was. And He kept that purpose in mind in the lessons and parables that He taught. So when He was saying here “I sacrifice my life for the sheep”, He knew what a sacrifice He would be making. Yet He was still choosing to be our shepherd. Please let that sink in. Jesus was fully man, but He was also fully God. He knew how the story would play out. He was being real and truthful when He said He would sacrifice His life for His sheep. It was already in the plan. This plan gives us access to the Father. We have access because of the sacrifice Jesus was willingly making for us.
Jesus is not only our door, He is our shepherd. He calls to us and He leads us. Following Him every day will never lead to danger. He will lead you and He will guide you when you follow His voice. Sometimes in my studies I find a sentence or a phrase that is just so beautiful it bears repeating. I’m not even sure in this case who to give credit to but I will leave you with it here.
“As those he loves, we are able to hear his voice and follow his leadership, knowing he is good. We are not asked to measure up to some impossible standard or earn his approval. He simply asks us to hear and follow, but that decision is ours to make. He will not force it upon us.”
Won’t you listen, hear and follow the shepherd’s voice. He is calling.