By Jamie Myrtle
11 I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep. –John 10:11 (NLT)
In the previous passage, we looked at how caretaking was the job of the good shepherd. Jesus came to give us a “rich and satisfying life”. Jesus provides safe pasture, protection from danger and overflowing blessings. In this passage, however, Jesus tells us of his primary purpose. He’s going to give His life for us.
If, like me, you grew up going to church, Christian parents, accepted Christ at a young age, it’s easy to take this for granted. All my life I’ve heard that Jesus came to save us from our sins. But today, as I read this, I’m struck by the real cost of this to Christ. I think about how sometimes I complain about giving up my time for others. Or about how easy it is to become angry or bitter when someone hurts my feelings. Christ came knowing He was going to die. He sacrificed everything for me.
Sometimes, I think we believe it didn’t hurt Him so much because He’s Christ. But He was fully God and fully human. Something we can’t understand. But fully human. So when the people, His sheep, rejected Him, it hurt. When people didn’t listen to His message, it hurt. When the disciples, His best friends, deserted Him – it hurt him just like it hurts us when we’re betrayed.
And the cross. Crucifixion was, and is, a form of torture. The physical and mental pain Christ endured on our behalf is unimaginable to us – here in our safe pasture.
The Good Shepherd sacrifices His life for His sheep. We are His sheep. Listen to His voice. You can trust your life with someone who gave everything for you.
Dear Jesus, I cannot even comprehend the true cost of your sacrifice for me. I am humbled at the knowledge that You gave everything to open the gate for me. I love you, Lord Jesus. I pray that my life will reflect my gratitude for your sacrifice.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. 18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
19 When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. 20 Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?” 21 Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”