John 10:4-5 says “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
As we learned this Sunday, shepherds were extremely protective of their flock. A good shepherd would name, build shelter for, defend, guide, and comfort his flock. This was his life. Sometimes, flocks would be resting or grazing together, and the way that a shepherd would gather his sheep was to call them, and knowing his voice, they would follow him.
“I AM the door… I AM the good shepherd.” Why are these statements so profound?
He calls himself the door because he is the only way to the Father, but in calling himself the door, is also communicating that no one can get to his flock without going through him first. Thieves and vandals may try to weasel their way in, but the shepherd guards, protects, and guides his sheep even at his own peril.
Now a person protecting their livelihood makes perfect sense to us. We guard our money, our possessions, and our families at great personal cost. What Jesus did for the world though, was not to protect his livelihood, but simply for the sake of redeeming us in the eyes of the Father, and saving us from the consequences of sin. Jesus sacrificed all he had in order to call out to all people, knowing even then that many would refuse to listen, rejecting and despising the free gift that he offers all through his personal sacrifice.
Romans 5:6-10 says, “6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”
To fathom that while we were still in blissful servitude as enemies of God, he sacrificed his son for us. It makes sense for a man to defend his flock for his livelihood, but Christ laid down his life and called those who were not even his own, simply to save them from the slaughter.
Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
In taking our sins, Jesus paid the debt with his perfect, earthly life. This offers us the free gift of perfect, eternal life.
Jesus is calling out to his sheep. His sheep will hear his voice, rise, and follow him. Thieves and robbers may very well attack the flock, lions may prowl seeking to devour us, winds and storms may buffet us, the darkness may surround us…“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4a)
Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He calls his sheep and he protects them. Have you heard the voice of the Good Shepherd calling out to you? Tugging at your heart? Beckoning you out of the sheepfold and into his flock? There is only one entrance into the kingdom of heaven, and the Good Shepherd is the door.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake… Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23: 1-3,6)