November 12, 2020 – Thursday
John 10:11 NIV
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
If I were to go straight to the verses with believe in them (25 and 26) I would have to skip over this verse and several verses surrounding it. Instead I choose to look at this verse and those surrounding it as it is one of the most famous or well know verses of the New Testament.
For most of us this verse simply makes sense when we read it, I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. We recognize Jesus as our shepherd and we know He laid His life down for us, paying the price on the cross for our sins. Let us look at a few of the preceding verses to get some context. He tells us He is the gate for the sheep (v7) which is very similar to another famous verse where He says in John 14:6, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Then there is the verse preceding our verse for the day, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
In the verse of the day where Jesus says, I am the good shepherd, it was Jesus speaking plainly where He is fulfilling the Old Testament ideal of a shepherd caring for the people of God. Guzik tells us, What Jesus described as a good shepherd is actually a very remarkable shepherd. Shepherds may take risks for the safety of the sheep, but it is probably rare to find one who would willingly die for their sheep. Yet Jesus not only states that He is the good shepherd, but that The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. Here Guzik quotes Spurgeon saying, The life that is in the man Christ Jesus he is always giving for us. It is for us he lives, and because he lives we live also. He lives to plead for us. He lives to represent us in heaven. He lives to rule providence for us. While He did lay down His life for us, He did rise again and ascend into Heaven where one day He will come for us – His sheep, His flock, His bride.
Pastors have for 2,000 years acted as stand for His flock as shepherds in various churches. Many would not be willing to give their lives for the flock He has placed under them. In fact, it is so bad that some, if they do not make enough money, they will walk away. Others will do anything to increase the size of the flock under them without teaching what Jesus has told them to teach. There is a reason James wrote in 3:1, Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. Even stronger words came from Jesus for He will know those who are true and false shepherds. In Matthew 7:21-23 He said, Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Thankfully, however, there are still many who do not water down the word of God and teach it as provided in scripture.
What are we to do? We should trust Jesus because we know (!) He laid down His life for us. He died for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8), offering salvation for us even then. An incredible act of love and sacrifice with the gift of Salvation available to those of us who would partake of it.
Prayer: Heavenly Father – Thank you for Your Son who gave His life so that we might be forgiven of our sins and have a home in heaven. Help me to always see what He did for myself and others in love and great appreciation. – In Jesus name. Amen.