John 10:14-18

John 10:14-18 has Jesus continuing to explain His role as the Good Shepherd.  He tells us “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me”. Clearly we have a relationship with Jesus if we are His.  It’s not knowledge about Him, but rather knowledge of Him.  We think of sheep as being all the same. The Shepherd knows they are individuals with their own personalities and characteristics.  It’s not a surface relationship and knowledge – it’s intimate and personal.  And it goes both ways.  It is the existence of this personal relationship that is proof that Christ is Shepherd of our life.

Jesus goes on to tell us that His relationship with God the Father is the same. “In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary”. The work of Jesus as the Good Shepherd was rooted in His close relationship with His God and Father.  His promise of caring for us as His flock, of offering abundant life for eternity, these are not things that He just came up with on His own but are based on God’s plan for mankind.  Jesus was the messenger, and then the enabler that makes it all possible.  We need to know Him to access all that God has for us through Him!

Jesus expands the role of Good Shepherd further. “You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They’ll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd”. These other sheep are Gentile believers, not of the fold of Israel. Jesus said that He must bring these sheep also, who would also hear His voice. A fold or pen of sheep is a part of the flock in its own structure or enclosure. A shepherd might separate the sheep into different groups to care for them better. There is one flock and one shepherd; but Jesus calls His sheep from more than one fold.  All Christ Followers will follow the One Shepherd!

Jesus goes on to describe the relationship He has with God the Father. “This is why the Father loves me: because I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again. I received this authority personally from my Father”. God the Father saw the beauty of character and self-sacrifice in God the Son, and He loved the Son all the more because of it. In a sense, we can say that Jesus “raised Himself” from the dead. He had the power to lay down His life, and He had the power to take it up again.  His sacrifice on the Cross was not dictated, but chosen by Him.  God didn’t force obedience, but Jesus willingly went to the Cross to provide a way to save you and me!

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