During my time with the Lord this morning I read this passage in John’s gospel:“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. . . . 11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. (John 10:1-11)
And my thoughts somehow shifted for a moment or two to our two puppies, Frenchie, and Happy Bear (our Bichon and Pomeranian).
Although no one knows that they will do in any dangerous situation, I do believe I would put my life at risk to save either Happy or Frenchie. A house fire? If I could get through the flames, I’d run in to a burning house to save my dogs. If they fell into a frozen lake, I’d jump in after them.
But would I WILLINGLY die for either dog? Of course not. They’re dogs. They’re animals. God gave them to me to protect them, but not to die for them. I have a wife and family who are far, far more important to me than either of my beloved dogs. For my family, yes, I know I would willingly die.
Which brings me to the point.
I am a creature created by God for and through Jesus, the Son of God. (Colossians 1:16) And unlike what I would NOT do for my dogs, Jesus, who is Almighty God in the flesh not only put his life at risk for this sheep, He WILLINGLY laid down His life for me – the creature – that I might live with Him forever. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, calls His own sheep by name. To me, that means that of the billions of people on this planet, Jesus knows my name.
He knows where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and how often I’ve done it. And He calls me His sheep, nonetheless. And He says His sheep follow Him because they know his voice. And oh, yes! I know His voice. At times not as clearly as I would like, but I hear it every day and throughout the day.
And what about you? Do you know His voice? Do you follow him even when His commandments are at odds with the culture’s definition of holiness? Are you grateful that He died in your place, as your substitute, taking your sins on Himself so you could live with Him forever? Why did He do that? Because He loves you. He loves YOU – regardless of where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and how often you’ve done it.
I hope your answer to each of those questions is a resounding yes. But if not, then please hear this: You need to reconsider who you are (a creature), who He is (your creator), what He has done for you, and why.