In the last post we saw that Jesus claimed to be the Door to salvation and no one could enter into the Kingdom of Heaven except through Him. Closely related to that revelation Jesus declares, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me.” John 10: 14 All the religious leaders knew that Jesus was claiming to be this Shepherd of Psalm 23, “the Lord is my shepherd,” and the Shepherd of the Psalm is considered to be none other than the Messiah. The book of Hebrews calls Jesus “the great shepherd” and Peter calls Him “the chief shepherd”.
John makes it clear why Jesus is the ultimate Shepherd; it is because Jesus declared, “I lay down my life for the sheep and I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice.” John 10: 15b, 16a Jesus love for us is so great that it would lead Him to the cross so that we may have shelter from the cares of this world and assurance of the world to come.
This is one of those pivotal texts in scripture, where in few words, a great deal is explained. Jesus makes it clear that the Jews have rejected His offer of safety. They will not enter in through the Door trusting Jesus for their redemption. Instead, they turn their backs on Him, accuse Him and eventually surrender Him to Pilate for crucifixion. The controversy between the religious leaders and Jesus stems from His insistence that His life would be laid down in sacrifice for the redemption of all humanity. The sad part of the story is that they missed the point. Jesus even goes so far as to equate them to thieves and wolves that only wish to fleece the flock, and then devour them. Jesus portrays a dismal picture of the religious system that cannot identify their Savior even when He walks in their midst.
In the “Check it Out” section of this blog’s Menu is a snippet called Judged. I hope you will look at it when you’re finished reading this post and ask yourself some serious questions. Do you feel like the people in the video clip? Have you ever felt that you just couldn’t live up to someone’s arbitrary standards? Jesus was talking about people outside the church when He told the Pharisees that He had other sheep that “will heed my voice.” Many of the people who are going to enter into the Kingdom are drawn close to God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says, “my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.” John 10: 27, 28
Jesus says the religious leaders are as wolves, catching up the lambs to devour them, but for those who hear God’s voice, He promises no one can snatch them from Him. We have assurance and confidence through the love of God, and nothing can ever take that away. John records that the religious leaders were so angry with Jesus that they picked up rocks to stone Him to death.
Nobody likes to be criticized. We can either take it to heart, and if the criticism warrants, make changes, or like the Pharisees pick up stones to kill the messenger. As Christians, we have often closed our minds to God’s direction. We’ve been so comfortable in our cocoon that we have missed hearing the Shepherd’s call. However, no matter how indifferent or distant from God we are, He still calls our name. His invitation to find rest and security within the safety of His arms is never withdrawn.
Next post we will look at Jesus saying “I am the resurrection”.