Focal Passage: John 10:7-15, 27-30
As the presidential primaries unfold, one of the issues that candidates must address is that of national security. Of course, discussions about safety and security take many forms: personal security, securing the borders, school security and even church security. When we hear such a discussion, we are reminded of our vulnerability. Rather than recoil at that thought, we ought to use it as a reminder of our need for our Good Shepherd.
In John 10, Jesus continues to reveal himself as the great “I Am.” In verses 10-11 he uses two “I Am” statements as he reveals more about who He is for us. In verse 7 He declares Himself “the gate for the sheep.” Fencing has historically been a way in which shepherds protected their flocks from predators. In any fence, the gate is critical. It is the most obvious point where one can enter, if the gate is not secure. Jesus declares that He is that gate for us. Nothing can get to you without going through Jesus first. What a blessed thought!
In verse 11 Jesus continues by declaring Himself to be the Good Shepherd. While the gate is a static means of defense, the shepherd is dynamic. That is, the shepherd can respond to the needs of the sheep and move swiftly in their defense. The sheep and their shepherd have an intimate relationship. The sheep know the voice of their shepherd and listen to it (John 10:27).
More than that, the shepherd has an interest in his sheep that a “hired hand” does not (John 10:12-13).
But, Jesus’ protection of his sheep is not ultimately about national borders or even personal safety. Jesus offers us eternal protection from the Enemy, who only desires to steal, kill and destroy (v. 10). When Jesus says that He lays down His life for the sheep (vv. 11, 15), He is referring to His death on the cross. It is by His death that provides eternal protection to all those who believe in Him (v. 28). Praise God for our Good Shepherd.