I Am the Good Shepherd

In John 10, our Lord Jesus Christ reveals Himself as the Good Shepherd. What is His distinguishing mark? The true shepherd gives his life for the sheep. David was a good shepherd. You remember when a lion and a bear came and took away the sheep, that he went after it and rescued it, and slew both the lion and the bear (I Samuel 17:35). Yet David did not give his life for the sheep. But Christ gave his life.

It was not merely temporal death that he died; but it was equal to eternal death. It was death under iniquity: ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities’ (Isaiah 53:5). It was a death under sin: ‘The wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23).

And observe, it was freely done; he did it out of free love; therefore it is always said, ‘He gave himself for us.’ Love one another, even as Christ loved the church, ‘and gave him self for her’ (Ephesians 5:25). Observe that Christ so loved the sheep that he gave his life.

When you arrive in heaven, what will you see? “ A lamb looking as if it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6). Are you attracted by that sight? Is your heart seized by His amazing love? To whom else will you go if not to him? Note what he offers you — HIMSELF. “I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

What is Jesus saying? “I am willing to do two things: Lay down my life for you, and, secondly, give myself to you.” And, in embracing me for who I am, you will be compelled to lay down your life for others (1 John 3:16).

— Adapted from Robert Murray McCheyne, A Basket of Fragments, 1843

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