“I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” “I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me – even so know I the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also – I must bring. And they shall hear my voice – and there shall be one fold – one Shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down – and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” “I and my Father are one.” [Jn.10:11,14-18,30]
This teaching is directly from Jesus. This is where He declares Himself to be the “Good Shepherd”. This is both a very simple and yet a profoundly solemn truth. For it specifically deals with the eternally covenanted atonement of all the sins of all His sheep. It is the carnal and perverse spin of fallen men that has propagated so much confusion concerning this portion of God’s Word. E.g., in vs.11 Jesus announces in no uncertain terms that He is the “Good Shepherd”. Then He immediately adds: “the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.”
The word that Jesus uses for “life” is the same word for “soul” in Mt.10:28 – from where Jesus declares: “…fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the SOUL: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both SOUL and body in hell!” In other words, dear ones, Jesus says that we should fear only God – for He is the only one who can do that!
Then the Lord Jesus continues in vs.14-18 by giving us some strong clues as to who truly are His sheep. The first of which is that there is an intimate relationship between Him and His sheep. He says from vs.14 that He intimately knows His sheep. Secondly, He says that He, Himself, is also intimately known by them. The loving intimacy of this relationship is made plain by the literal way that vs.15 describes it. Jesus says that the relationship between Him and His sheep is “Just as the Father” knows Him – and He knows the Father. The loving relationship between the Father and Jesus is Biblically famous! Vs.15 closes with Jesus restating that He, the “Good Shepherd,” gives His (soul) life for the sheep.
Next the Lord Jesus makes a remarkably wonderful statement. He says that there are other sheep that He owns – which are not of this fold; and them also He must (lit.) lead. These others come from every race – kindred – tongue – tribe and generation! Praise the Lord! Every single individual one of them will hear His voice! They hear the gospel of the glory, only, of the Lord Jesus Christ! And, Jesus goes on to descriptively declare that there will be one fold – with one primary Shepherd!
Then Jesus brings up yet again – His eternally atoning sacrifice for all of His sheep throughout the whole history of fallen-in-sin humanity. And, He declares that the everlasting love of God permeates all of it. He says, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my (soul) life, that I might take it again. (18) No man taketh it from me – but I lay it down of myself. I have power (lit. I have sovereign authority) to lay it down, and I have power (lit. I have sovereign authority) to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father!” This is the commandment of the New Covenant – which is the covenant between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – which was entered into before the very foundation of the world. This is the foundation of God which is firmly and eternally sealed in that He intimately knows those that are His. These are His sheep for whom He sacrificed His soul in order to eternally save all theirs. (2Ti.2:19)
For Christ’s Glory Only!