Continuing to expand on the figure of speech He used in vv. 1-5, Jesus tweaks the allegory a third time in v. 11ff by uttering another of his rousing declarations – I am the good shepherd.
John would persuade us to believe in Jesus as the Messiah and follow Him as opposed to false and self-serving impostors (see the “hired hands” in the context). The two main thoughts we unpacked from v. 11 this morning before Communion had to do with what the good shepherd designation implies regarding Christ deity – He is equal to Jehovah God who frequently compares Himself to a shepherd in the Old Testament – and His integrity – He is good, supremely good, particularly in the fact that He lay down His life for the sheep.
Here is the copy:
Then one dark night did He give His life for His sheep in the sense, I doubt not, intended here. On that dread night—you know it—that night to be remembered, for it was the night of God’s Passover, the Shepherd went round His flock and the sheep were sleeping, but there came the wolf and the Shepherd knew his snarl. The sheep, all startled at the howls, were scattered—they forsook the Shepherd and fled. That night He had enough to do to meet the wolf. But He stood at the fold to watch the sheep and let them all go in safety. And then He confronted the grim monster who leaped into the fold thirsty for the blood of the sheep, but the Shepherd caught him and then came a desperate struggle between the two. The shepherd did bleed and sweat, did bleed and sweat and bleed again. Great drops of blood fell to the ground, but He held the monster fast and firm. Our Great Shepherd was wounded on His head, on His shoulders, on His hands and feet—and one awful fang tore open His side, but He held the wolf—held Him till He had slain him! Then, dashing down his body to the ground and putting His foot upon him, He shouted, “It is finished!” But in the same moment, the Great Shepherd fell. In slaying our foe He had, Himself, been slain! But scarcely had the Shepherd touched the earth than, as if reanimated, up He sprang again and said, “I lay down My life that I might take it again; therefore does My Father love Me because I lay down My life for the sheep.” You know that story and need not that I tell it again at any length. But, oh, love Him! Love Him! Kiss His wounds! Worship this blessed Shepherd who has conquered your foe and delivered you from the jaw of the lion and from the paw of the bear—and set you forever safely in His fold! “The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”
For the next two sermons we will consider six ways Jesus is preeminently good as our shepherd in His sacrificial death as a loving, substitutionary, particular, global, voluntary, and designed sacrifice.
Amazing love how can it be that You my King should die for me!