Two weeks ago, the risen Christ called his disciples and us His brothers and sisters. We do not deserve this title, but it is a title that we are given because of our Lord’s death and resurrection. God is your Father because Jesus calls you brother. Last week, the risen Christ came and stood in our midst and proclaimed peace to us. God is reconciled with man. He is not angry at you. Peace. Today our Lord gives us this wonderful truth – He is the Good Shepherd and we are His sheep.
You Can’t Hide Anything From One Who Knows You
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me (John 10:14). Now what all does it mean to be known by your good shepherd? One of the things that it means is that you can’t hide anything from him. Do you know how when you meet a new friend that you can hide a little bit from them? Or when you only know somebody casually you can hide your crazy a little bit? We all have our crazy, right? You have your opinions, you have your thoughts, and above all you have your failures. Yet, you can hide them a little bit from someone who doesn’t know you all that well. But this is not so for the ones who live with you, the ones that see you first thing in the morning, first thing when you come home from a long day at work, first thing after you get off the phone with someone who is frustrating you. They see your laziness, they see your temper, they see how poorly you react to suffering at times. They know you.
He Knows -He Calls You a Sheep
Dear saints you are known by God. And your Lord Jesus calls Himself your Good Shepherd not because he doesn’t know you – like one might call you a good friend until they find out your crazy – but because He in fact does know you. He calls you a sheep after all. Sheep like to wander. Sheep aren’t very smart when it comes to how they should live on their own. They rebel against each other. They have no natural defenses against the wolves – they can’t bite back, they don’t have any clause, and they are slow. When they get lost they can’t find their way home. Jesus didn’t call us the dogs and the cats of His flock. There is no hiding anything from Jesus. He knows you. So one of the things that the Christian is called to do is confess – confess he is a sheep. Admit his failures and her weaknesses because the Good Shepherd knows them.
He Knows Rejection
Another thing that He knows is rejection. The audience that Jesus is speaking to is the Pharisees. In John you can see that he had just called them spiritually blind and deserving judgment. A blind man could now see both physically and spiritually, confessing that Jesus is the Son of God – the Light of the World. The Pharisees refuse to see it. They refused to acknowledge the works of God. They think that their works are light and freedom. So Jesus calls them blind. And here, He also calls them deaf to the voice of the True Shepherd. Perhaps they think they are the Good Shepherd for themselves, but sheep make horrible Shepherds. Perhaps they just wanted to listen to their own voice, but that voice wouldn’t save them when the wolf would come. Perhaps they just wanted to listen to the things they liked to hear from the voice of the Shepherd and ignore the things they didn’t like, but that’s just another way of saying they don’t really trust that their Shepherd is good.
He Lays Down His Life for Those that Reject Him
It will be this group, this group which doesn’t believe Him, doesn’t see Him as He truly is and thinks He’s dangerous and wrong and doesn’t hear Him and His truth and grace and love, this group will be the one that will rile up the leaders and crowds to crucify Jesus. And it will also be this group that Jesus, too, will lay down his life voluntarily to forgive them, save them from themselves, and release from the grips of the devil and his lies.
And though He suffer so much rejection, so many sheep that wander, that doesn’t stop Him from laying down His life for them. Because He knows them. Because He knows their enemies, He knows they are their own enemies so often, He knows they wander, He lays down His life and takes it up again, keeps seeking to find, keeps confessing that other voices are lies and they don’t get you to green pastures which give life. Some will listen, many will not. Sometimes we listen, sometimes we will not. That doesn’t change the truth.
He Lays Down His Life So That We Aren’t Rejected by Him
And it is precisely because He knows us that He knows what we need. We need for him to lay down His life for us. To remove everything that would separate us from God. Remove our sin and our rebellion. To get bit by the wolves as He’s protecting us. To get all tangled up in the thorns that we have tangled ourselves up in – to die for us so that we might be called His and be known by him, not by our failures and sin, but by His calling us His own. You are branded. You are baptized. When animals have a mark of their owner on them, it is a mark that says, “These are mine and they work for me.” And that is true. You are called to work for Jesus. But when He branded us, when He made us His own, when He baptized us, He promised that He would work for us. That He came not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. He serves. His work is what you come to receive today. Forgiveness, strength, renewal, and just to hear that our God knows us. Our sufferings, our tribulation, our struggles. He knows.