John 10:11 (NLT)
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.
It is the job description of every good shepherd to be willing to put his life on the line to protect the sheep. This means that when trouble is approaching the sheep, the shepherd does not think about himself first. He does not run away and leave the sheep behind. He moves the sheep ahead of himself in order to get them out of harm’s way. Think of David who killed a lion and a bear in order to protect his folk. This is the length to which a good shepherd is willing to go.
Jesus is our good shepherd. He not only is willing to give up his life for us, but he gives us life — eternal life — life that lasts forever. In comparison to life everlasting, Christ did not count his life dear unto himself. He did not take a personal interest in his own existence but for the sake of us that we may have a better existence. The good shepherd is the exact opposite of a hired herder. A hired herder runs away at the first sight of trouble, but a good shepherd covers, protects, leads, guides, corrects, and love the sheep.
It takes some of us years to realize that Christ has our best interests at heart. He understands us completely and loves us unconditionally. He knows what he is doing in our lives even when it does not make sense and even when it is far out of the scope of our understanding. Christ can be trusted because gathers us to himself and pastures our souls, not leaving us to wander or fend for ourselves. We make our souls happy when we surrender to the guidance of the good shepherd
As believers, we have all the power, love, strength, help, grace, and abundance that we could ever need or even ask for not because we have great talents or skills, wisdom, wit, or understanding. It is because Christ is our good shepherd. The good shepherd gives us everything we need. The complexities of life become untangled and we begin to see a path before us. Not that we see the entire pathway, but that we see the footsteps in the sand before us and trust that he is leading us in the good and right way — the way of the good shepherd.
“God has not abandoned us any more than he abandoned Job. He never abandons anyone on whom he has set his love; nor does Christ, the good shepherd, ever lose track of his sheep.”
— J.I. Packer