The God Shepherd
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
John 10:14-15 (NIV)
John chapter 10 is of course, the discourse on the Good Shepherd and his loving and serving relationship with his sheep—a love so strong and sincere that he offered his life up for the well being, the salvation and the future of all sheep; not only those of his fold but also for those who are not of his fold (verse 16).
He also tells us in this chapter (verse 7) that he is the gate or door of the sheepfold. When sheep were out on the hills they were kept in a fold which consisted of a circular dry stone wall with a space to allow the sheep to go in and come out. When they were corralled for the night the shepherd himself would sleep across the opening where the door—or gate—should have been and he actually became the door; so that no one could get in and none of the sheep could get out without waking him. He was explaining that there is only one way, gate, door by which man can be saved and stand before his Father blameless. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:3-4).
But there is more here: Jesus goes on to describe what this entrance to God means, and to do this he uses a well known Hebrew proverb in John 10:9; “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture.” What does that mean? To be able to come and go unmolested was the Jewish way of describing a life that is absolutely safe and secure. That a man could go out and come in without fear meant that his country was at peace, that his God was watching over him and he was enjoying perfect security.
Let’s read Psalm 121:7-8 (NRSV). Here we have this same Hebrew expression for protection and security; “The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.”
Notice also Jeremiah 50:7 (NRSV) where the Lord is referred to as “The true pasture.” This is the pasture we find when we come into the fold through Jesus—the door of the sheep!
Thank you, Lord, that you are indeed the door through which we come to our Father and enjoy true peace and security and find real pasture.
Study by Cliff Neill
About the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
LUTON LU1 5JE
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