The beloved apostle recorded in his gospel: “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). John wrote of those things which are applicable to the person and work of Jesus Christ. By the Word of God we hear the words of our Lord, saying, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” The sheep of his pasture have life because he was willing to give his life for them. We are not speaking of just a physical life but of that life which is eternal, the very soul which is created after the image of the Triune God in righteousness, truth, and justice: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). The Good Shepherd was there at creation time: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1–3).
Those who are in darkness are unable to understand this light. The “Light” includes salvation from sin, and the ability to act righteously or morally. Only those who are in Christ know that their sins have been forgiven, and that they are able to live, by the Spirit, as obedient children of God. Darkness is that revealed nature of man as a transgressor of the moral law of God. Man chooses to serve the lord of darkness rather than live in the righteousness of his Creator: “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:5). To comprehend means to seize or lay hold on to something; thus the one who lives in darkness is the one who purposefully refuses to admit the light of righteousness to enter into their immoral world view. Thus the Savior comes to those in darkness to give light to his sheep. He is the one who has dragged us out of darkness into his marvelous light.
The most applauded picture of our Savior is that of the Good Shepherd who holds us as lambs to his bosom. Our emotion is moved to see such a picture of Jesus. It is a non-threatening picture. We rejoice in such a Savior who holds us in the cleft of his arm with the promise that he will never let us go. However, this picture is not completely understood unless we know how we came to be held by our Savior.
Jesus speaks of this entrance into his sheepfold: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” Those who rationalize their behavior as if God will understand their best efforts are those who seek to steal their way into heaven. Those who believe that we are all going to the same place, but by different routes, desire to steal their way to God. However, “he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.” In other words, it is the Good Shepherd who enters first in that heavenly fellowship with the Father, making himself the door for our entrance. He is the one who provides the peace between the transgressor and the Father by the shedding of his blood, ransoming our souls by paying the price for our sin and guilt. He is the one who leads us beside the still waters, through the valley of death, to the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Our Lord provides us with a true understanding of just what is going on in this world. Our Savior was sent into this world to save His people, to move them out of hopelessness to hope, out of darkness into His marvelous light. There is the warning that there is still the darkness which desires to act like a thief and a robber. There are those who would be like a thief, trying to jimmy a window for an entrance into the kingdom of God. There is only one door, and the only one who can enter by that door is the shepherd of the sheep; his sheep graciously rest in him.
The picture given here is the household of God, which accommodates the children of God, or the fold of God, which contains his sheep. The porter, or keeper of the door, will only let in the shepherd of the sheep. How do we know the true shepherd from all others? Jesus said, “the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” This shepherd leads his sheep by going before them, the sheep following him because “they know his voice.” They will not follow a stranger because they do not recognize his voice.
God’s Word tells us: “For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession. The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein” (Ps. 69:35–36). We, as the sheep of the Good Shepherd’s fold, are able to recognize his voice. We love him who first loved us. All other voices of this world are foreign to us. If we listen to, obey the voices of this world, and then we will follow them and be led astray. The Christian only has one Master. We follow him because we know his voice. And we know that what he says is true.
Our Savior is the door of the sheep, and all other so-called saviors are seeking to rob us of our inheritance. Jesus says that he alone is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). There is no other person under heaven whereby we can be saved. Eternal and abundant life, repentance, faith, and forgiveness of sin come from the Father through the Son. It is therefore true that Christ Jesus is the door, “by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture …I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Christ is the Shepherd and the door of the sheep. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” The false shepherd allows the sheep to be devoured by whatever lies the world would tell. The enemies of Christ would like to see the wolves of this world devour God’s children. The traps of evolution and immorality (from gambling to abortion to immoral marriages) are carefully laid traps by the enemy.
The Savior loves the children of God the Father. Jesus told his disciples, “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go and prepare a place for you” (John 14:3). Our Savior has prepared a place for us in His Father’s household. This place, whereby we are called children of God, is prepared by the shedding of the blood of the Incarnate Son of God. There is something very precious about the flock of the Good Shepherd. Paul exhorts the elders of the church, as those appointed as overseers by the Holy Spirit, “to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). Our Savior is loved by the Father for He has laid down his life for the sheep. He has the authority to take his life up again to show his victory over sin and death.
We belong to Christ. We are literally the sheep of his pasture. We are told by our Lord that he is the shepherd who knows his sheep and is “known of mine,” This knowledge between the Savior and those for whom he died is illustrated in his words, “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” The Christian comes to know the Savior personally, intellectually, and experientially. Christ calls us his friends. The Holy Spirit teaches us about our Savior through his written Word. He witnesses to our spirit that we might call God our Father.
Comments are closed for this Article !