Friday, June 17, 2016
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14,15 KJV).
Jesus came to do what Israel’s shepherds failed to do!
Four primary Bible chapters feature lengthy, stinging rebukes to Israel’s corrupt religious leadership—Jeremiah chapter 23 (they pervert the Lord’s words), Ezekiel chapter 34 (they mislead the Lord’s people), Matthew chapter 23 (they feign to be the Lord’s people), and John chapter 8 (they are Satan’s children).
Jeremiah 50:6 says: “My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place.” In Ezekiel 34:1-31, God sharply disapproves of the way Israel’s religious leaders are guiding the whole nation into error. He promises to come personally and deliver His people from these evil leaders, and to cause His people to return to Him (Millennial Kingdom). This is the context of Christ’s earthly ministry: He is the Good Shepherd come to lead the wayward sheep of Israel back into His ways (today’s Scripture). In the Four Gospels, we read about “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6; Matthew 15:24) and Israel being a flock of sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36; Mark 6:34).
Peter wrote of Israel’s believing remnant who responded to Jesus Christ by faith: “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25). Hebrews 13:20 says: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will….”
Ancient Israel’s shepherds were focused more on themselves than leading God’s people. Then, Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, came. He selflessly gave for Israel instead of selfishly taking from her. He laid down His life for His sheep, to save them from their sins and the ravening wolves of Satan, and to make them His people able to do His will!
Please see our related archived Bible Q&A article for additional insight: https://forwhatsaiththescriptures.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/is-john-10-16-the-body-of-christ/.