The Good Shepherd

John 10  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
John 11
The Spirit of God keeps the door of the sheep. Christ, as serving the Father, enters the door. From now on Christ Himself is seen as the door of the new fold. He gives the authority to leave the old Jewish economy and enter into the new order of salvation-believing on and following the Shepherd, who is Christ. The sheep are familiar with the voice of the Shepherd, and He calls each by his name.
Christ enters by the door. He is the door; He is the Shepherd. He is seen in contrast to all previous shepherds. The sheep, confined to the Old Testament order of the law and the traditions of men, are ready to accept an entirely new order of things-an order which brings, rather than requires (like the law) something of man. Christ, being the door, is the only way of entrance into the new fold. When He presented Himself as the door, the Jews whom the Lord was addressing did not understand His words. The elect of Israel readily accepted salvation full and free. Those who entered in by the door were saved, enjoyed liberty, and fed in good pasture.
The good Shepherd goes before, leading His sheep, who know His voice and follow Him. Someone has said that the Lord does not employ dogs to handle His sheep, but He calls and they follow. They are free in the personal care of the Shepherd. The sheep know the Shepherd, even as He knows them, and even as the Father knew Him when on earth. The sheep do not know the voice of a stranger.
Thieves and robbers preceded Christ as shepherds, but the sheep did not hear them nor follow them. The thief destroys, but the Good Shepherd comes so that the sheep might have life and that abundantly. Christ as the Good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep while some make merchandise of the sheep.
When the wolf comes, the hireling flees, because the sheep are not his. This no doubt refers to a coming day when the wolf (the Assyrian) will attack the Jews in their land, while the idol shepherd (the antichrist) flees. The hireling has no interest in the sheep, except to feed himself on them (Ezek. 34:1-101And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 2Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. 4The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. 5And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. 7Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; 8As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; 9Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; 10Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. (Ezekiel 34:1‑10)).
Christ has received a commandment from the Father to lay down His life and take it again. It was not taken from Him, but in love, obedience and dependence He had power to lay it down and take it again.
We see here the governing principles of divine life-love and obedience as well as dependence. There was a special love manifested by Jesus to the Father in laying down His life, although He has always been the delight of the Father's bosom in heaven. With Christ laying down His life as a man, He gives the Father a fresh reason for loving Him. "Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.... This commandment have I received of My Father."
Again, there is a division among the Jews. The Shepherd gives His sheep eternal life. This is through His death and resurrection-all depends on this. A common teaching among some who profess to believe is that one can be saved and lost again. The holy Scriptures guard against such inferences by Satan. The believer has double security. First, the Lord said, "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one."
One may say, with an unbelieving heart, "I can pluck myself out of His hand." This is impossible, but be it so, He still says, "I give unto them eternal life." I know nothing that gives security and assurance to a believing sinner who was lost, like this. This is security now and forever; praise His name.
When He said, "I and My Father are one," they took up stones to stone Him, for they said His words were blasphemy.
Jesus went to a place where John first baptized beyond Jordan, where many believed on Him. Thus we have seen the hatred of the Jews towards Christ, because He claimed equality with the Father. They had as a nation rejected Jesus, and He left them. His public ministry was largely over.