John 10:11–18 (MEV): “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. But 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 runs away. So the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because he is a hired hand and does not care about the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd. I know My sheep and am known by My own. Even as the Father knows Me, so I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep who are not of this fold. I must also bring them, and they will hear My voice. There will be one flock and one shepherd. Therefore My 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 Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I received this command from My Father.”
Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd. There is only One. He is the One Who lays down His life for the sheep. When danger comes, this Shepherd won’t run, but will give wholly of Himself.
These words were spoken by Jesus before He laid down His life. And that for the greatest danger to any of us, that is the just death due for sin, and passing from this world without the gift of eternal life. He took that curse away for the sheep. In the direct context given, Jesus is speaking to those believing sheep of Israel. Those are the ones to whom He was promised.
Note, too; His Father sent no hireling. No mere employee would lay down his life for another. A hired hand doesn’t love. The Father has to send a member of the Family Who owned the sheep.
More than that, the Father sent the Good Shepherd as He knew His sheep and was known by them. Those believing Israelis did know the Messiah when they encountered Him. Even Paul knew Who was speaking to him on the Road to Damascus.
The Good Shepherd follows the commands given Him. He was sent by His Father for the believing sheep in Israel, and the believing sheep from another fold… That is, not of Israel.
The Good Father here knows just Who to send to gather the lost sheep. It is One Who would do anything to gather them, even to the point of laying down His Own life. The Good Father also gave the Good Shepherd power to take up His own life again. And He did.
The Good News to each of us, is that God erased the writing of judgments against us, taking it away and nailing it to the cross. This respite gives us each time to enter the sheepfold by the One Open Door… Jesus Christ.
How do you enter?
Simply by believing it is true and it is for you.