My favorite “I Am” statement of Jesus is “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11). It is precious and comforting to me. To get the full scope of this statement, please read John 10:11-30. Remember that Jesus is talking to the Pharisees, the ruling religious party of the Jews. They had just tried to discredit His miraculous healing of a man born blind (John 9) and had thrown the man out of the temple for defending the One who opened His eyes. This I Am also comes on the heels of His claim to be The Door/Gate (10:7-10).
The Pharisees knew exactly what Jesus meant by this statement, and it infuriated them. It was a reference to the Lord’s proclamation against the worthless “shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves” (Eze 34:2). They used and abused the sheep they were called to tend, ate their curds, and took their wool for their own coverings. They had no compassion for the weak or sick or wounded. They left the lost to wander alone and in constant danger. So the Lord said, “I myself will tend my sheep . . .” (Eze 34:15). Jesus came to be the Shepherd – the Good Shepherd – and step in where they had failed.
The Good Shepherd, Jesus said, “lays down His life for the sheep” (Jn 10:11-12). Sheep owners would hire shepherds who had no stake in the flock other than a paycheck. When a wolf attacked, the careless shepherds would run away, leaving the defenseless sheep in mortal danger. Of course, the wolf is satan, and Jesus did not run away. He faced down the devil, laid down on the cross, and died to save His beloved lambs (v. 18). And by God’s divine power, He rose to life and stands between the wolf and His flock.
Here’s the part I love the best – Jesus said, “I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (v. 14)”. The twin words, “know” speak volumes in the original Greek. It means to be acquainted with or have knowledge of. But it also means intimacy, the kind that only a husband and wife enjoy when there is nothing between them but love. No pretense. No distance. No distrust. Jesus knows me like no one else, and He loves me. All of me. Even the parts that I do not love about myself.
It is the same love He has for you. Intimate. Abiding. Unwavering. Unfailing. Eternal. He is the Good Shepherd. You, precious little lamb, can trust Him.