Church, let’s begin today with Psalm 23. This is a perspective-setter for us as we approach John 10. Soak this in. Pray through it verse by verse:
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23 ESV
As we approach John 10, we find numerous references to sheep and their shepherd. The references of sheep are a description of us, the disciples/followers of Jesus Christ. The references to the shepherd are clear as well:
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.” John 10:11 NLT
In using this illustration, Jesus not only acknowledged His deity but also foreshadowed the painful death He would soon experience for us. Just a short time later, He sacrificed His life for His sheep. But in these verses, He would also foreshadow His resurrection:
“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. 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.” John 10:17-18 NLT
The passage goes on to tell us that the sheep know their Shepherd’s voice. These are not only Jewish sheep, but Gentile sheep as well (“I have sheep that are not of this fold”). The big picture was being unveiled: Jesus would call to Himself a bride from every tribe, tongue and nation (Revelation 5:9). That’s us! We are among those to whom Jesus was referring in this passage!
After I read John 10, I approach Psalm 23 differently. I see Jesus as the Shepherd mentioned in the first verse. And the rest of it? It’s all true because He laid His life down for His sheep. It’s a fantastic pairing of God’s word.
Here are a few questions for reflection today:
1) Are you one of God’s sheep? Have you heard His voice and responded by turning to Jesus for salvation?
2) How are you doing in following the Shepherd’s voice? (obedience)
3) Are you helping bring other sheep into the fold? (evangelism)
By: Todd Thomas