“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep
and my sheep know me…”
John 10:14, NIV
Our experiences help us understand and relate to the words we read or hear. When we read about sheep and shepherds we are naturally handicapped. Our twenty-first century image is far from the first-century picture of sheep. Shepherding was an intimate occupation. The shepherd of the Middle East did not drive his sheep – he went before them, he led his sheep. The very existence of a sheep depended on the shepherd and his twenty-four-hour-a-day care. That is why there was no sharper image of tragedy for the ancient mind than sheep without a shepherd, which our Lord used in Matthew 9:3. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Many people, including believers, are cast down and without a shepherd, while others are contented members of the flock, enjoying tenderness and attention. As we seek to understand the beautiful imagery of John, Chapter 10, we are reminded of the importance of relationship. There can be no more dramatic expression of intimacy than the way the Father knows the Son. But incredibly, Jesus says, “I know my sheep…just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.” His knowledge extends into the deepest part of our lives!
Jesus knows us in the most profound ways. He knows our past with its failures, and its hurts; our present and our unrealized longings. He knows us in the most intimate ways. He calls us by name.
It is encouraging to think that not only does He know us, but we know Him! “They…will listen to my voice.” We know what Jesus’ voice sounds like. We hear his voice, and we respond, and He meets our deepest needs.
QUESTION: Do you know the Shepherd’s voice? If you have never entered into this relationship, this provision, this heart, submit yourself to the Chief Shepherd as Lord of your soul today. And if you are already one of His sheep, God wants you to enjoy the benefits of being in His flock. Worship Him in your heart day by day.