The Good Shepherd
In John 10:11, Jesus speaks and states that, "I (Jesus) am the Good shepherd." It is the fourth of the I am statements in the gospel of John, many would remember this I Am statement that goes way back to Exodus 3:14, where God speaks to Moses that I Am has sent him to the sons of Israel. Jesus is indeed the God-Man, the great I Am. Jesus is saying He is the I am of all eternity past, He is the good shepherd, that He is no ordinary shepherd. He is the good shepherd, not a good shepherd as if there are many of them. The Greek word "Kalos" means being morally good, beautiful, winsome, lovely, attractive and other qualities of exceptional worth adding up to good.
Why or what makes Him the good shepherd? Jesus says in verse 11 that He lays down His life for the sheep. Shepherds may take risks for their sheep, but it would be a rare thing for any to give up his life to save the sheep. Jesus says He lays down His life for the sheep some four times between verses 11 and 18. Jesus does this voluntarily. Is there any act of love greater than this? Jesus says no. In John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." It is vicarious, in other words substitutionary. One example is in 1Peter 3:18,"Christ died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust." Doing for someone what they cannot do for themselves. The redemption of a man's soul is costly, (Psalm 49:8), this is a most precious death, one of infinite value to us one could say. As in Matthew 1:21,"He,(Jesus) will save His people from their sins" So it is both done voluntarily and vicariously. And this was no accident for Acts 2:23 states, "Jesus was delivered over by the predetermined plan and fore-knowledge of God."
A hired shepherd may not take care of sheep as the Chief Shepherd may as he does not have concern for them. He may not know them as the Good Shepherd does. In verse 14, Jesus knows His own, and they know Him. We long to be known by others, to be called by name. For words of comfort to be shared with us like I love you. There is a permanent relationship notated here. Jesus likens His knowledge of us and ours of Him, as He says in verse 15 that as the Father knows Him, so He knows the Father. And even though all the sheep are different, and no two the same, they are all distinguishable to Him as His voice is distinguishable to them as well.
And don't we need all the help we can get from our Shepherd, knowing but we are but His sheep? We sure do! Sheep are helpless. If one is stuck on his back, it can die, much like a turtle. It also may not make a noise until after it is attacked. Sheep are wayward as well. The sheep follow the shepherd as they know his voice. Jesus confirms this in John 10:4. And Isaiah 53:6 states, "All we like sheep have gone astray." The great hymn re-iterates it as well, "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” Next week, Lord willing, we will finish our look at the Good Shepherd, may you continue to hear His voice, that you would follow Him, and know that nothing can separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Great Shepherd.
Elder Randy Slak