Our experience of God is limited by our knowledge of Him! The more we know him the more we come to experience His power and glory! This is why Paul prayed that 'i may know him' and then the 'power of his resurrection'. Our knowledge of him always defines our experience of Him. Meaning the more we know Him the more we experience his power and person! Daniel 11:32 says it all: ‘the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits"!
This study, the revelations of Jesus is shared with the intention and purpose of increasing our knowledge of the Lord! So far we are the on seven I am statements of Jesus! The "I am" defines a God that is unquestionable - a God that answers to himself alone! The self-existent and self-sufficient God that is the I am! And Jesus claimed his class in that realm! He is God all by himself!
I am the bread of life. I am the light of the world. I am the door. And just immediately after finishing this statement in John 10:9 of been the door, in vs 11 we heard the fourth "I am" statement according to John: “I am the good shepherd...” And he says in this capacity as the good shepherd, "I can lay down my life for the sheep"!
In Ezekiel 34:12 God compared himself to a shepherd. He talks of how he will seek out his own and care for them like a shepherd will!
‘12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day’
Here, God, the Father is revealed in the shepherd mode. David, a shepherd boy himself understood the shepherd hood nature of God and wrote one of the top passages in scriptures: Psalms 23:1, 'The LORD is my shepherd...' The "LORD" used here was the same "LORD" used in Psalm 110:1-3 where David had a vision of God the Father and the Son.
‘1 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. 2 The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies’
Psalm 23:1, David was revealing the Father to us as a shepherd! And Jesus in the spirit of John 10:30 declared unequivocally, like the Father, "I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD"! In other words, I am one and same with my father - I am the good shepherd and I lay my life for the sheep! This he did when he died on the cross!
The good shepherd revealed his love by releasing his life! We can always count on His love that gave us life.
‘8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’(Romans 5:8)
Now, let's read that John 10:10-11 again. ‘The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep’
As I read this scripture a paraphrase by the Spirit of God arises in my heart: ‘the devil has a mission to destroy but I have come with a superior purpose to counter that: I have brought the abundant life to you! And I will go to any extent to fulfill that purpose as a good shepherd (leader), I am willing to die for this cause'!
As the good shepherd, there are a lot of things the good shepherd does for the sheep. A quick read through Psalm 23 tells us what happens when God is our shepherd.
vs 1 - the shepherd provides pasture vs 2 - peace and direction 3 - salvation 4 - protection 5 - supernatural comfort 6 - anointing, blessings and abundance 7 - ever increasing blessings of the Lord
And herein is the lesson we can learn from the greatest leader. You cannot lead a people you are not willing to die for! Leadership is not living for a cause; leadership is dying for a cause!
But much more than this the greatest responsibility of the shepherd is to give his life for the sheep! This is why David while tending to his father's sheep risked his life to kill the bear that came after the sheep. It's a standard requirement for all true shepherds! Anyone who falls below this standard is referred to as the hireling - the one hire to lead the sheep in place of the true shepherd! This is understandable, the hireling is hired and not a leader!
Shepherds are principally leaders! The word shepherd is the word God used to describe the leaders of his people when you read the prophets. Both Moses (Ps 77:20) and David (Ps 78:70-72; Ezek 34:23) were referred to as shepherds and it is after their order that Jesus came from! Even the word "pastor" essentially connotes the 'shepherd'. As the great shepherd and the greatest leader Jesus pride himself in the fact that he could lay down his life for his sheep (John 10:16-18)!
“16 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, and one shepherd. 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 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”
And herein is the lesson we can learn from the greatest leader. You cannot lead a people you are not willing to die for! Leadership is not living for a cause; leadership is dying for a cause! Never ever give your life to a cause you are not willing to die for! Jesus had a cause and as the good shepherd and greatest leader he was willing to die for the cause and for the people.
Never pursue a cause you are not willing to give your life for! Like Jesus said, "only those who are willing to give their life will keep it in the end"(Luke 9:24, John 12:24-25) This one great lesson to learn from the good shepherd. Selah!