What Does Jesus Mean to You?

KEY VERSE: “The thief cometh not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” —John 10:10


JESUS, BY VIRTUE of his sacrifice on behalf of the sheep, became the ‘door’ into the sheepfold. By giving his life for the sheep, Jesus redeemed them from death, and from bondage to the Law; he also demonstrated his love for the sheep, his genuine interest in their welfare. To the sheep this is very important, as it proves to them that they can have confidence in such a shepherd. Anyone who pretends to be a shepherd and is not willing to lay down his life for the sheep is not to be trusted.

The voice of the Good Shepherd today is still the voice of truth, the truth that is composed of the great fundamentals of the divine plan of the ages. This voice speaks of the wisdom, justice, love, and power of the Creator, and gives assurance of his design to bless all the families of the earth through Christ and his church of the Gospel Age. It is a glorious message, and we feel secure in the flock that hears, recognizes, and follows it as they journey in the narrow way toward the heavenly kingdom.

The voice of the Good Shepherd, the voice of truth, is a unifying influence among the Lord’s people. Fancy interpretations of obscure portions of the Word intrigue a few for a little while, but often lead to a spirit of separation, certain ones feeling that they have advanced a little beyond the others. The voice of the Good Shepherd never leads to this situation.

The Good Shepherd is more interested in the welfare of all his flock than in himself. This is why Jesus laid down his life for his sheep. Shepherds who do not have this same interest are not true representatives of Jesus. One who is interested in securing a following for himself regardless of the needs of the flock as a whole is not a true shepherd. He is serving for his own gain, and is styled by Jesus, a ‘hireling’.

A hireling shepherd, Jesus explains, will flee when the sheep are in danger of being scattered and destroyed by wolves. A true shepherd will do all he can to protect the sheep—he will lay down his life doing this even as Jesus did, if need be. As a shepherd representing Jesus, his own interests will always be secondary to the interests of those whom he serves.

In the parable, Jesus emphasized that the reason he laid down his life for the sheep is because he ‘knew’ the Heavenly Father’s plan of redemption, and how divine love was manifested therein. Jesus and his Father were one in carrying out the plan of salvation. Jesus’ love for the world was the same as his Father’s love; and with such a love motivating all that he said and did, he could not be other than a Good Shepherd who would lay down his life for the sheep. The greater our knowledge of our great Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus, the more firmly we will trust them, and enthusiastically follow the voice of the Good Shepherd.

Jesus further explained that the Father loved him because he loved the sheep. Throughout the centuries many had essayed to represent Jehovah as servants of his people, but for the most part they had sought their own interests, and had persecuted the true prophets whom God specially sent to his people. These were the thieves and the robbers who only appeared to be shepherds. What a contrast was Jesus’ attitude! No wonder the Father loved him! His love for each one of us is also in proportion to our love for the brethren.

The Apostle John, wrote: “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” (I John 3:14) This is an assurance that if we continue to follow the voice of our Lord, we will have life, and “that more abundantly.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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