The ShepherdRev. Philip Miller | February 28, 2021
Selected highlights from this sermon
In this passage from John 10, Jesus gives us two “I AM” statements: “I am the door of the sheep,” and “I am the good shepherd.” Pastor Miller explains these statements, giving us three insights into Jesus as our Good Shepherd: His provision, His position, and His passion. Once we see what Jesus meant by being these two “I AM” statements, we’ll realize that He is legitimate, He is our leader, and He is loyal to the end. As Pastor Miller says, if Jesus loved you enough to die for you, He’ll never do you any harm.
One of the unique features of the Gospel of John is the particular attention he gives to what we call the “I Am statements of Jesus.” We’ve encountered two of them so far in our study. The first was “I am the bread of life” back in chapter 6. The next one was “I am the light of the world,” in John, chapter 8. And today we come to the third and fourth of the “I Am” statements: “I am the door of the sheep,” and “I am the good shepherd,” both of which are contained in John, chapter 10.
In subsequent weeks, we will see the remaining three: “I am the resurrection and the life” (chapter 11), “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (chapter 14), and “I am the true vine” (chapter 15).
Now, in each of these seven “I Am” statements, what Jesus is doing is He’s taking the Greek phrase, Ego eimi, simply “I Am,” which is a translation of the Hebrew name for God, the covenant name for God (Yod, he, vav, he, is how it’s spelled, the tetragrammaton). It is from Exodus 3:14, translated “I am who I Am.” And so in these phrases Jesus is hinting at His deity, but He takes that phrase, Ego Eimi, and then pairs it with seven different analogies to help us understand who He is better. And so, for example, we’ve seen that Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” “Just as you need physical bread in order to sustain your bodies to live, I am spiritual bread that will sustain your souls into eternal life. Come and eat.”
When He said, “I am the light of the world,” He says, “Just as you need light to pierce through the blinding darkness at night, I am the divine light come into the world, piercing into the darkness in the sin cursed world so that you might find your way. Come and see and follow me.”
Now today Jesus gives us two more of these “I Am” statements: “I am the door of the sheep” and “I am the good shepherd.”
What on Earth does He mean by these analogies? Well, that’s what we’re going to examine together this morning, so grab your Bibles if you would, wherever you are. Just join us here in John, chapter 10. We’re going to look at the first 21 verses of chapter 10 today. And as we are about to turn to God’s Word, would you bow your heads? Let’s pray together and ask the Lord to teach us this morning.
Father, we come to you now and ask that you would open our eyes to see Jesus. Help us to understand what it means to see Him as our Good Shepherd, to trust Him and follow Him, to realize that we are sheep in need of His care and direction and protection, and help us to follow Him. We pray this in His beautiful name, Amen. Amen.
Now before we get started here, in John, chapter 10, what we have in these opening verses are two word pictures, both concerning shepherding. The first word picture that we have here is in the first five verses, one through five, and Jesus has in mind here an in-town sheep pen. So, in the towns, they would have a sheep pen made with formal walls, usually with stone. There was a gate in the opening. There was a night guard that would come and protect them, so the sheep would be put into this gate for overnight keeping inside the town itself. The shepherd would come out in the morning. He would come to the door. The gatekeeper would open up the pen, and the shepherd would call. And the sheep that belonged to him would know his voice and would come out and follow the shepherd out of town, into the fields to graze. These sheep pens in town would often have multiple families’ herds, multiple flocks, and so the shepherd is sorting out the sheep and then taking them out to pasture. That’s the first word picture here in verses 1 through 5.
The second one, Jesus makes a shift that would have been obvious to His audience, but because we’re not familiar with shepherding, we can get confused by it. Verses 7 down to 16 show us a different picture. But a wilderness pen of sheep outside of town, out in the wilderness, these pens were informal. They were sort of just, you know, piled up rocks in bramble in a circle to make some sort of a makeshift pen. They didn’t really have much of a gate, and so the shepherd himself would lay down in the gap at night, and would close the gap with his own body. He was the door for the sheep pens.
The sheep would come in at night to be protected and safe from the predators that are at large in the wilderness, and in the morning, the shepherd would get up and let them out to graze, and do the thing all over again the following evening.
So these are the pictures. Now let’s read the text and see where this goes. John 10:1, this is the word of the Lord:
“‘Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.’ This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
“So Jesus again said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 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. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.’
“There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, ‘He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?’ Others said, ‘These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?’”
Thanks be to the Lord for the reading of His Word.
Now, in this text we’re going to see three insights into what it means that Jesus is our Good Shepherd. Because this text moves around so much, we’re going to find themes that are consistent all the way through and sort of unpack them one theme at a time. Rather than going verse by verse, we’re going to cluster some of these verses together this morning, and we’re going to see these three insights. We’re going to see the Shepherd’s provision, the Shepherd’s position, and the Shepherd’s passion this morning. Okay? The Shepherd’s provision, position, and passion. Let’s go. Let’s go.
The Shepherd’s provision first, right off the top here. If Jesus is the shepherd, (okay?) in this analogy, which is what He’s saying, “I am the good shepherd.” Who then are the sheep? Okay? Who are the sheep? Well, that would be us, right? We’re the sheep. And by the way, that’s not a very flattering picture there. Sheep are notoriously vulnerable animals. I don’t know if you know much about sheep. I don’t know very much.
I had to read these things, but I understand that sheep will, without guidance, they will end up eating poisonous plants and kill themselves. They have a tendency to overeat, and then get very bloated and unhealthy. They will, at times, if they’re not, you know, watched after, they will wander off and get lost. They can flip over on their backs actually and be unable to right themselves, which is kind of a funny picture, isn’t it? Baaa! You know, that sort of thing.
They can get wet in the rain, and you know with all the wool, actually drown in their own wool which is a weird thought. If they’re not shorn consistently, the wool will continue to grow. And as a matter of fact, I read an article a little while ago of a sheep that got lost for some period of time, and they found him up in a cave somewhere, and he had 77 pounds of wool on him. That’s crazy. He had nearly suffocated under the weight of all of it. He survived. That’s good.
But the point is you never really hear about a wild sheep, do you? You hear about wild cats or wild dogs or wild horses, but you don’t hear about a wild sheep because a wild sheep is basically a dead sheep. Okay? And so sheep need a shepherd to thrive. That’s the main point. Sheep need a shepherd to thrive, and so do we. We need a shepherd if we are to thrive in life.
Now, let’s look at what a shepherd provides, what we need from a shepherd here. A shepherd provides three main things. First, he provides significance. Significance. Notice here that the sheep matter to the shepherd. The good shepherd values the sheep, prizes the sheep. He knows these sheep. He calls them. Verse 3, the second half: “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
Now each shepherd would have had a unique call, a unique sound. The sheep would have known that voice, that call, and would follow him. Again, when the sheep are comingled in this in-town sheep pen, it is the voice that separates the herd. And what we have here though is something even more personal than that. The good shepherd knows the sheep by name. Each sheep is unique and precious to him. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He calls His own by name, friends. You’re not just one of the herd. You’re His very own, prized, known, and loved sheep.
Imagine with me for a moment. If someone you really idolize, someone you admire, they’re famous, and you get a chance to meet them. Right? Maybe you bump into them in a restaurant or something, and you go up and you say hi, and you get to know them a little bit. And let’s say like a year later you, by chance, end up bumping into them again, and their eyes brighten up, and they see you and they call out your name. What would that mean to you? It would be precious, wouldn’t it?
Friends, do you realize Jesus knows your name? He calls you by name. Out of all the billions of people on the planet, He knows your name. He calls to you. He’s inviting you to leave the millions of sheep, the throngs of animals, and come and follow His voice, the one who knows you completely and calls you by name. This is beautiful.
Secondly, notice that He knows them. The Good Shepherd knows His sheep. Verse 14: “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.” The shepherd knows his own sheep. They belong to him. He knows them intimately. Shepherds in this day, they would know their sheep, just like you know your own children, which child has a tendency to wander off and needs extra guidance, which children tend to be frightened and needing of comfort, which ones are tender and need affirmation, which ones are stubborn, you know, and need a firm hand. The Good Shepherd knows His sheep, deeply, intimately. Now, how deeply? How intimately?
Look at what He says. This is amazing to me. “I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.” He says that the same intimate knowledge between the sheep and the shepherd is the same kind of knowledge that exists within the triune God. That’s incredible.
From all eternity the Father, the Son, the Spirit have been giving and loving and self-disclosing and delighting in the infinitely deep, mutual inter-relational life, an overflowing joy that is brimming within the Godhead. It is an infinite love, an infinite knowledge, an infinite closeness, and is the same love and knowledge and closeness that Jesus says extends now to His sheep. He is enfolding us, don’t you see, into the kind of loving knowledge and intimacy that is from beyond the world. And He leads His sheep. Verse 3, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”
Now, here in the West, we drive our sheep. You know, if we have a shepherd, they drive the sheep usually with the help of a dog, right? But in the Middle East, even to this day, the shepherds lead the sheep, and the sheep follow behind the shepherds. They are personally guided by the shepherd to safety and lush pastures. And the sheep trust their shepherd, and they follow their shepherd, and the picture here is Jesus says, “I’m the good shepherd, and I’m personally guiding, leading my people.” He doesn’t delegate this task away. It is personal for Him. He is with His sheep because they matter to Him. They’re significant to Him. Significance.
The second thing the shepherd provides is security. Security. The sheep are vulnerable by nature, and they need protection.
Verse 9: “I am the door.” Jesus says. “If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” The picture here once again is of a rural sheep pen. The sheep are running in as night falls, and Jesus, as the door, is the one who insures their safety and security. And so the hills, of course, are crawling with predators. The sheep find refuge and safety with the shepherd. The shepherd would lie his body in the gap as the door to close off against the predators, put his body between the sheep and those that would devour them. Anyone wanting to harm the sheep, be it a thief or a robber or wolf, will have to first deal with the shepherd, you see. He will risk his life for the sheep.
Jesus unpacks this more down in verses 11 to 15: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 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.”
So Jesus, see here, is the Good Shepherd because He stays. (chuckles) When the threat comes, He doesn’t run away, you know. He’s not a hired hand who will split whenever He can to save His own skin. This is not just a paycheck for Him. No, this is His flock. These are His sheep. He knows them by name. He loves them and He will die for them. He will not lose a single one. So in the moment of the greatest peril, you see, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, will not run away. He will not abandon His sheep, but will stay by their side, even if it costs His own life.
Now there’s a verse in next week’s passage. It actually belongs in the one we’ll talk about then, but it’s too good not to include it here, and that’s verse 27 and 28: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (chuckles)
See, there are a lot of things a shepherd has to do, right? A shepherd’s got to feed. He’s got to groom. He’s got to protect. He’s got to lead. He’s got to nurture. He’s got to defend the sheep. But at the end of the day, the bottom line if you’re a shepherd, is it comes down to one thing. Did you keep the sheep alive? Right? Did you keep them? And Jesus says, “Listen, I am the Good Shepherd, and here’s the final scorecard. I will keep one-hundred percent of the sheep that are given to me. I’m not going to lose a single one. No robber, no thief, no wolf, no one will be able to take them from me. No one will snatch them out of my hand. I will hold them secure.”
So, the third thing that the shepherd provides now is satisfaction. Satisfaction. Not only does the Good Shepherd provide significance and security to His sheep, He provides satisfaction as well. In verse 9, He says, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”
So not only is Jesus the door through which the sheep will come in to find safety and protection. He is the door through which the sheep will go out and find green pastures that nourish and satisfy their souls. Jesus is saying, “Look, do you want happiness in life? Do you want joy in life? Do you want life abundant? I am the door. I am the door to such green pastures and still waters. I am the door to all that your soul is restless for.”
Verse 10: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. This language is of a sheep that is healthy and full and contented, and fat. (laughs) Every need is met, lavishly provided for, at peace, nourished, vastly contented without a care in the world. Abundant life, not just in this life, but in eternity as well. Remember verse 28: “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.”
So Jesus is the Good Shepherd who offers the good life. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who offers the good life, both now and forever in Him.
Jesus is offering, friends, a life beyond scarcity, beyond worry, beyond stress, beyond death; a life abounding with significance and security and satisfaction forever. This is the Shepherd’s provision. His provision.
Secondly, we see the shepherd’s position. His position. Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd in this passage. In the Greek it’s an unusual construction, but it says, “I am the shepherd, the good one.” (chuckles) “I am the shepherd, the good one.”
Why does He need to say “the good one”? Well, it’s as opposed to “the bad ones,” right? The bad ones. He’s drawing distinction, actually all the way through this passage, between Himself as a good shepherd, and what bad shepherding looks like. Do you see that all the way through? He’s calling out the differences.
One of the differences is His legitimacy. His legitimacy. Verse 1, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens.”
He says, “I am the Good Shepherd because I have a legitimate claim to the sheep. These are my sheep. They belong to me. I know them, I care for them, and I lead them, so I use the front door. I’m not sheep rustling here. These are my sheep. They are truly my sheep, and I am their true Shepherd. I am legitimate. There’s nothing false about me here.”
The second distinction is found in His leadership. His leadership. Verse 3: “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
He says, “Look, I’m the Good Shepherd, because I lead and the sheep follow. These are my sheep. I call them and they come. They know my voice. I lead and they follow. I’m not a stranger to them. They know me. I know them. They know my voice. They follow my lead.”
The third distinction is found in His loyalty, His loyalty to the sheep. Verse 11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 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.”
He says, “Listen, one of the ways you know I’m a good shepherd is because I lay down my life for the sheep. I am loyal to them to the very point of death. The hired hand runs away. It’s just a paycheck for him, but not for me. These are my sheep. I know them. I love them. I’ll die for them. I’m a good shepherd, you see.”
Now, why this emphasis on Jesus as the Good Shepherd versus, say, all these thieves and robbers and strangers and hired hands here? Why does Jesus need to say, “I am the shepherd, the good one?” Why does He make that distinction? Well, remember the context. Jesus has just healed the man born blind. Remember? And we’re in the same context here. That’s why in verse 21 this passage ends with, “Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” We’re still dealing with this man born blind and the fallout of that conversation.
Now remember what happened in chapter 9. Jesus healed this man who was born blind, and then the Pharisees ended up kicking Him out of the synagogue. Remember this? Then Jesus went and found him, revealed who He was truly, and this man bowed down and worshiped Jesus. Now, here’s where it ties in with the shepherding imagery. The religious leaders claimed that they were the shepherds of Israel. They were the shepherds of Israel. The people were the sheep and they had been appointed as the leaders, the religious leaders, the pastors, the shepherds of the people. And here comes Jesus and He has now taken one of the sheep out of their fold, this blind man who they kicked out and Jesus is now welcoming him into His fold, you see. And so their accusation is, “You’re a sheep rustler, Jesus. You’re a thief. You are leading the people astray.” That was one of the words they used in the last couple of chapters. “You’re leading the people astray.” That’s sheep language.
And Jesus says, “Look, I’m the real Shepherd. I’m the true Shepherd. I’m the Good Shepherd. I’m not stealing anything. These sheep belong to me. That’s why they’re responding to my voice. That’s why they’re following after me. And furthermore, you have shown yourselves in all these interactions to be bad shepherds. You just kicked a man out because I healed him and because he spoke the truth to you, and you couldn’t handle it. You ran him out of the synagogue. You don’t know him. You don’t love him. You don’t care about him. You won’t die for him. You’re just hired hands, but I am the Good Shepherd, and I have come for my own. And I’m just getting started.”
Verse 16: “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”
He says, “Look, I’ve got a whole world of sheep that belong to me, and they will hear my voice and they will listen to me, and I will draw all men to myself so that there will be one flock with one Shepherd.”
Now scholars are mostly agreed here that what Jesus is alluding to is the uniting of Jews and Gentiles together, gathered into one people, that Jesus is gathering people from every nation, tribe and language and people and tongue to be what Paul will call “one new man in Christ.” One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. One body, one Spirit, one family forever. Now how will the Shepherd bring this about?
Thirdly, we see the Shepherd’s passion, the Shepherd’s passion. I am using the word passion here as in the word derived from the Latin, passio, suffering, as in the passion of the Christ. Do you see how much suffering and death concerning Jesus is all over this text? It’s everywhere, isn’t it?
Verse 11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
Verse 15: “I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Verse 17: “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
The final proof, friends, that Jesus is the Good Shepherd, the good one, is found in the fact that Jesus will lay down His life for His sheep. And I want you to see here that Jesus’ death, the way He describes it, there’s a number of things here that are really important, I think five of them that I have here to mention.
Number one, it is a sacrificial death. When the wolves attack, He sacrifices Himself so that the sheep might live. He lays down His life for the sheep that He loves sacrificially.
Secondly, it’s substitutionary. It’s substitutionary. What is the wolf after? What is the wolf hungry for? Sheep, right? What does the wolf get instead? Shepherd. He dies in their place and for their sake, His life in exchange for theirs.
Thirdly, it’s voluntary. It’s a voluntary death. Jesus says, “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down in my own accord.” Oh, enemies will conspire, they will attack Jesus, but in this death He will not be at their mercy. No, they will be at His mercy. This is a voluntary, willing death. It is freely offered, freely given.
Fourthly, it’s authoritative. Jesus said, “I have authority to lay my life down, and I have authority to take it up again.” What this means, friends, this means Jesus is the boss of death. Do you realize this? Jesus is the boss of death. He has life in Himself. Death has no mastery over Him, no authority over Him, so that when Jesus decides to lay down His life, He does so voluntarily with absolute sovereign authority. And when Jesus is then ready to rise again, death can have no hold on Him because He rises in absolute, sovereign authority. This is the charge the Father gave to His Son. This is the plan. This is the assignment. This is His responsibility, and the Son will make it so.
Finally, Jesus’ death is lovely. Do you see this? Jesus says, “For this reason the Father loves me.” Why, Jesus? “Because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.”
Friends, the Father looks with pride and adoration and delight and love at the sheer nobility and glory and beauty of His Son who walks willingly and courageously into the very jaws of death, only to rise victorious as the master of death, the eternal Lord of life. Jesus says, “For this reason the Father loves me.” There is something about this moment that causes the Father’s infinite love for the Son to swell to a fever pitch, at this crescendo in all of world history as the Son lays down His life and reclaims it forever. The Father says, “That’s My boy! That’s My Son. I am so proud of that. This is why I love Him so much.”
Did you see what He did? He laid it down to take it up again.”
And this passion is the reason the Father loves the Son, and it’s the reason the sheep follow the Shepherd, because, friends, listen: If Jesus laid down His life for us, when He calls, we’ll follow Him anywhere. Anywhere.
Now, three quick takeaways as we close. First, we are like sheep without a shepherd. Don’t you see that? We’re like sheep without a shepherd. You know, the American myth of the self-made person is just that. It’s a myth. Everybody has guides. Everyone has mentors. Everyone has advisors and authors and counselors and teachers. We can’t help but follow. It’s how we’re made. We’re sheep. And like sheep, the more fiercely independent and autonomous we try to be, the more vulnerable we become. We are made to be shepherded. We can’t find significance in ourselves. It’s not there. We can’t secure ourselves by ourselves. Not ultimately. We can’t find satisfaction on our own. It doesn’t work that way. We can’t self-generate these things that our souls most desperately need, no matter how hard we try. They come from the outside.
We need a shepherd, but the problem is there are bad shepherds that are all around us. Bad shepherds are all around us. Like the man born blind, we have learned in life that parents abandon us, and religious leaders can reject us, and society can pass by us. And many of us have found the world to be full of toxic and abusive and hurtful and manipulative shepherds, but we don’t call them shepherds. But politicians are slimy, leaders are selfish, pastors can turn out to be hypocrites far too often. Marketers promise us a lot and then defraud us in the end. Parents disappoint us. The media twist things. Our careers offer a whole lot of life and end up consuming way too much of us. Spouses can cheat. Friends can betray. And so a lot of us just realize that there’s not a lot of people we can trust, you know. And so we decide, “You know, shepherds are for suckers,” and we try to shepherd ourselves as best as we know how. But we can only go so far because at the end of the day, friends, we’re still sheep. We’re still sheep.
And don’t you see in all of this jadedness and all of this cynicism and all of this brokenness and all of this hurt, now Jesus comes. He’s the Shepherd, the good one. The good one. And He offers what feels almost too good to be true, doesn’t it? He says, “I have a life of significance for you that you can know who you are, that you are known and loved by God from all eternity. I’m offering you a life of security, to be protected in my love, and even death cannot touch you in the end. Here’s a light of satisfaction. Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.” He’s the legitimate one. He’s the leader. He is loyal to the very end.
Friends, do you realize the difference is everything else in life will promise you the world and take your life in the end, but not Jesus. Jesus is the one who lays down His life for the sheep. Everything else, all the other shepherds in life will take your life, but not this one. This one is a good shepherd. He will lay His life down for you, sacrificially, substitutionarily, voluntarily, authoritatively, and lovely.
And friends, listen, He loved you enough to die for you. Don’t you see? He will never do you any harm. So today, if you hear the Shepherd’s voice, if you hear His call, won’t you run to Him? Won’t you follow Him? Won’t you let Him lead you into a whole new kind of life, an abundant life? He’s a good shepherd.
Oh Father, teach us what it means to follow Jesus as our Good Shepherd. May we be able to say with David that the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteous for His name’s sake. And even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. And you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
We pray this in the name of our Good Shepherd, King Jesus. Amen.