For the shepherd in the areas surrounding Jerusalem, the care of his sheep was a full-time commitment. From the safety of the home-front to higher grounds and back again, the seasonal journeys were necessary to find new pastures and fresh waters. While on the road as night fell, the shepherd would construct a make-shift sheep pen out of available brush and he himself would bed down as the literal door to that shelter. This would ensure that his sheep could not wander nor predators attack without first crossing over him.
Periodically, a shepherd would become ill or need to take a few days off and so a rent-a-shepherd – a hired hand had to be called in. While he would go through the same basic routine, there was one huge contingency: if and when a wolf came, the hired-hand fled (John 10:12-13). Why? These weren’t his sheep. Why risk his life over a few days hourly wage?
Not so the Good Shepherd.
He knows His own and lays down His life for the sheep (John 10:11). As the Door, those that hear His voice and enter through Him, will go in and out and find pasture (John 10:9). They are saved and safe; they are free and flourish in His care. The Good Shepherd is so protective and compassionate about His sheep because He once experienced life from their point of view – our point of view. He has heard our cries and knows how desperately we need Him.
Behold, the Lamb of God is the Good Shepherd!
And on that very last Passover, He became the once-and-for-all sacrifice to take away our sin as His innocent body was broken and His precious blood poured out on a door in the shape of a cross. For the Enemy of our soul came to destroy us, but the Good Shepherd did not flee. Rather, He fought for us and triumphed over sin, hell and death. He willingly gave His life and then rose again so that we could have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10).
This is our Good Shepherd – the Lover of our souls. He is our Passover – our Exodus – our Door. And the horror of the Cross is only overshadowed by its wonder. For Jesus loves me, this I know.
Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21 NASB).