[Jesus said,] “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.30 The Father and I are one.” John 10:27-30 (NLT)
Jesus is my shepherd. So that makes me one of His sheep. There was a time when that was not a comfortable label to me.
My grandfather had a farm and raised cattle and chickens. No sheep. From what I read, sheep seemed like really dumb animals who did nothing for themselves, were content to be led around, and would in fact, follow other sheep right off a cliff. Oh, wait a minute, I’m beginning to see the personal comparison here.
A shepherd sees his sheep not just as a nameless flock but recognizes the characteristics of each sheep. He knows the ones who just can’t seem to stay in the fold but keep wanting to explore and inevitably find briars and gulleys that can be dangerous. There are others who are content to just lay around and do nothing and become ill. The shepherd knows how to handle each sheep.
And my Jesus knows how to handle me. He knows how to handle you. Each of us is special and wonderful in His heart. We know His voice because it is the voice that speaks truth in love. He convicts but never condemns. His voice is the one in the darkest night says, “I love you. I am here. Come, let Me hold you.”
And look at verse 28. It may be one of the most loving and powerful verses in Jesus’ gospel. “I give you eternal life and you will not perish (cease to exist). No one can snatch you away from me!” This is a promise from God. When the world attacks me with fear or disease or unexpected trials and destruction, I can hold on to this promise and know that while I may have to engage in a few battles, I go into those with the foreknowledge that my victory is guaranteed!
I am in a great journey through this life. I have days and seasons where I run strong but there are also parts of the journey that may feel like mountain climbing. Other times my world may look like a dark, endless maze of caverns. No matter the terrain since the night I bowed my head and cried out my need for the Savior, He has been with me every step. He has given me His Spirit and His Word to guide and teach me. And when I have stumbled and fallen, my Shepherd is there to pick me up, tend my wounds and carry me back to His fold.
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy – 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 24-25 (NIV)
Have you taken time today to thank God for His many, many blessings? Maybe this day has begun badly. But I submit to you that whatever the circumstances, our Shepherd, our Savior, our LORD is still right here with us. He will hold us up, give us the strength we need, comfort us, and lead us where there is rest, like a sheep in a green pasture beside a still stream.
The LORD is My Shepherd (Psalm 23) music written & sung by Keith Green