"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." (John 10:27-28, ESV)
This is surely one incredibly refreshing, restoring, and reassuring statement from our Lord. We must see the power of this promise from Christ!
Shepherding in a biblical context is mentioned as early as the book of Genesis. Many well known passages in the Scriptures flow from this relationship between sheep and their shepherd. Shepherds are the caregivers, the providers, the protectors of their flock. And over time, the sheep begin to recognize their shepherd for who he is: the one who cares for them.
Can you imagine what it must be like to believe in a god who is uncaring? To believe in a god who does not protect or provide for his flock? This is the case for all those worshipping false gods. This is not, however, the case with our amazing God! For we who trust in Christ, we have the Great Shepherd.
Remember Psalm 23:1-3 which says, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name's sake.”
Throughout life we experience days or even seasons when the way seems impossible. We discover parched fields, dried rivers, and scorching heat. There will be times in life when we feel attacked from all sides, under the pressure of wolves. In these situations our default mode may tempt us to take matters in our hands. We may think it wise to leave the flock, leave the Shepherd in search of peace and provision. No! Rather we must trust in the Great Shepherd to feed us, fend for us, and fight for us.
In 1st Samuel we catch a glimpse of how a good shepherd leads:
- 1 Samuel 16:11-13 - 11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.”
- 1 Samuel 17:14-15 - 14 David was the youngest. The three eldest followed Saul, 15 but David went back and forth from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem.
- 1 Samuel 17:33-36 - 33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.”
The heart of a shepherd is displayed beautifully, heroically through David. He endured long days caring for his flock. He traveled long distances to care for his flock. And when his time came to kill the enemy of God’s people, God’s flock, he proved ready for the task at hand.
Christ is the Great Shepherd. Sure it is David who stands against Goliath, the enemy of God’s people. Jesus defeats the eternal enemy. Jesus defeats sin and Satan. It is Christ, the Great Shepherd, Who calls out to us that we would love Him and follow Him. Jesus provides, Jesus protects, and Jesus promises eternal life to His sheep!
Are you listening to the voice of the Great Shepherd, trusting in the Great Shepherd? He has spoken throughout the Scriptures. He speaks of His grace and offers true life. Hear His voice and follow Him!