The gospel of John was written to produce faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. John 20:30-31 says “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” It is constructed around seven miracles, or signs as John calls them, that could only have been performed by a divine being. Who else but Jesus, God in the flesh, could turn water into wine, walk on water, restore sight to a blind man, or raise Lazarus from the dead?
The fourth gospel of John is also framed around several “I AM” statements that, once again, only Jesus could have made. Who else could live up to His claims to be the bread of life (John 6:35), the light of the world (John 8:12), and the resurrection and the life (John 11:25-26)?
“I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11), He also said. He is the One who came to seek and save the sheep who had gone astray. He is the one who felt compassion for the crowd, for they were like sheep without a shepherd. And He didn’t respond by claiming to be “like” a shepherd or that He was “a” shepherd. He boldly professed to be “the good shepherd.”
What is it about Jesus that makes Him the good shepherd?
Jesus knows His sheep. In Biblical times, the sheep were not just some business expense or tax write-off for the shepherd. He was intimately connected with them; he was personally involved. And the sheep had such a love for their tender shepherd that they would only follow his voice. In fact, when they heard the voice of a stranger, they didn’t run away and hide; they found him who knew them by name.
Jesus calls His people by name. “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona” (Matt. 16:17). “Zaccheus, hurry and come down” (Luke 19:5). “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43). And Jesus knows you by name. He knows what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling, when you’re afraid, and when you feel lost. “I know My own and my own know Me” (John 10:14). You are not just another number to Him. You are His sheep, and the Good Shepherd knows His sheep.
Jesus wants to lead you to safety, to find green pastures and still waters. But He can’t lead someone who will not hear Him. Hear His voice. Follow Him. He is the “Shepherd and Guardian” of your soul (1 Pet. 2:25).
Jesus laid down His life, not only for the sheep who were loyal to Him or following Him, but also, He laid down His life for Judas, who betrayed Him. He laid down His life for Peter, who denied Him. He laid down His life for the Jews, who crucified Him. He laid down His life for sinners, who rejected Him, and He laid down His life for you and me. The good shepherd became the lamb of God. He laid down His life to give the lost sheep safety and salvation.
Jesus, the good shepherd, is calling. Come to Him, where there is rest and room, while there is time and opportunity.