“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep” (John 10:11-12).
The good Shepherd would rather die than see one of His sheep die. In this He is vastly different from a hireling. The hireling is more concerned for his own prosperity then the prosperity of the sheep. The good Shepherd knows each of His sheep by name. Christ, the great and good Shepherd, is personally acquainted with each of His sheep. It is His joy to lead the sheep to green pastures. He brings them to cool waters and to restful shade. He is watchful of their health and well-being. He brings the sheep into the shelter of the fold and stands watch over them. When danger comes, the good Shepherd will lay down His own life for them. He will not flee from the wolf or the robber.
Christ, the good Shepherd, is the door of the sheepfold. It is by way of the door that sheep will go in and out of the fold. Christ is the only entrance into the fold. Some have endeavored to come in another way, but have not succeeded. The hireling shepherd views being a shepherd a position of prominence and so is not committed to suffer for the sheep.
Christ had a great trust placed upon Him—to bring His own people into His fold. Earlier in His ministry He commissioned the twelve to go to the lost sheep of Israel and not to the gentiles or the Samaritans. “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:6). [These He would bring into His fold.] But, sad to say, not many from Israel came into His fold. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:11-12). There were numerous Jews who came into the fold, but Christ envisioned others who He could and would bring into this fold. He saw the many in the gentile world who would receive Him and come into the fold. “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16).
Jesus, the great and wonderful Shepherd, is able to bring together the many into one fold. For the different people of different lands to be in one fold will require harmony, love, and grace. This can come about by a mutual trust in the Shepherd. When the sheep realize that all have come through the same door and that all have the care and protection of the good Shepherd, it will bring them together into a fellowship of love and trust. None will think that they have a preferred place with the Shepherd. None will be considered great and none will be thought of as small.
The good Shepherd will provide His sheep with food, water, and rest. He will give love, security, and fellowship. He will restore, strengthen, and heal. He will give hope, peace, and joy. Most of all He promises a place in the eternal fold of heaven.
102 Devotional Semonettes, Used by Permission