Watering the Tulips
August 14, 2013
“I am the good shepherd…” – John 10:11
Admittedly, this is one of this author’s favorite passages of Scripture. This beautiful illustration given to us by the most eloquent, able minister that has ever walked this Earth is full of deep truths. Yet, the presentation couldn’t be much simpler. A child can understand the relationship between a shepherd and his sheep. Jesus takes this wonderful relationship and shares some deep theology with the hearers (and readers). Then again, these deep truths are very practical to us, as believers, when applied…as all good theology should is.
No greater truth is given in this passage than in our text verse – “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Because of this, the sheep enter into the fold of God. Jesus goes so far as to pronounce that He alone is the “door of the sheep” (John 10:7). He is the narrow way which leads to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through [Him]” (John 14:6). During this time, shepherds had round fences set up in various fields. They would keep their own fold in these fences at night. Interestingly, there was no door, only an opening. The shepherd himself would sleep in the door. The sheep were allowed in through him and kept in by him. So, the hearers this day fully understood that Jesus was declaring Himself to be the only Way to God. And, He is! Any religion which expands salvation beyond Christ’s meritorious work is a false religion.
Jesus “calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” of this world (John 10:3). If you have been delivered from this world by grace through faith, it is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). We must always understand and acknowledge that Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Interestingly, sheep can be gathered together among many other animals. Yet, when their shepherd calls, they will recognize his voice and leave the rest behind. To further explain this, Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).
Certainly, Jesus could not be said to be the good shepherd if He didn’t protect His sheep. Earthly shepherds certainly sometimes lose sheep. And “a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them” (John 10:12). But, Jesus is neither a hired hand nor an earthly shepherd. Jesus is the eternal Son of God. He is the Good Shepherd. He gives His sheep “eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10:28). The sheep in God’s fold are fully protected by the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd does not lose sheep.
Child of God, take a moment and thank Jesus today for being the Good Shepherd. Thank Him for purchasing your salvation, for calling you, for guiding you and even for keeping you despite your tendency to wander (like a sheep). His work as the Good Shepherd is certainly one which gives a true believer much comfort.
Watering the Tulips is brought to you by Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL. For more information, please visit www.sovereigngrace.net. “Your App to the Gospel” is available in iTunes, Google Play and the Windows Phone Marketplace. Please download it today!