Skip a few centuries until we come to the time when the Lord Jesus was a man just fully engaged in His ministry. He likened Himself to many metaphors in order to communicate with the people of His day why He was there, and what He had come to do.
He called Himself ‘the Light’, ‘the Bread of Life’, ‘the Door’, ‘the ‘Vine’, to name a few. But He also called Himself ‘the Good Shepherd’. And oh, what a good Shepherd He was!
🔸 As stated in Luke’s Gospel, He is like the one who went to great lengths to reach and rescue the one sheep that was lost, “And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” (15: 5.) This is because the Shepherd has a heart full of love and tender mercy… “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19: 10.
🔸 Such was the love of the Shepherd that He was prepared to give up His life for the sheep… and He did! Remember what the above verse from Isaiah 53 stated … “The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” John 10: 11.
It is difficult to process what it would take for a shepherd to offer himself in the place of a sheep. After all, what is so important about a sheep? But this is exactly the point the Lord Jesus is making, because we are in comparison to His purity as helpless and as seemingly worthless like a smelly, dirty, lost sheep. Such love, all for us… “While we were yet sinners…” Romand 5: 8.
🔸 Every one He has personally reached and saved, He keeps! A relationship has begun that is going to last eternally. Here and now is the time to allow the Shepherd of our souls to lead us, and now is the time for us to faithfully follow. “… He calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” John 10: 3-5.
We as His sheep will only know His ‘voice’ the more we hear Him speaking. When we make the time to listen to Him with an open Bible in front of us, and with bowed heart in prayer, our relationship with Him will grow deeper until we really get to ‘know’ the One we are trusting.
🔸 He invites one and all to come by faith to Him. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1: 18.
We tend to pick up all sorts of contamination from the world each day and we quickly become tainted with sin. We will accomplish absolutely nothing being on the defensive about our condition. We are invited to ‘come now’ to talk with Him about our sin. He knows all about how ‘scarlet’ our sin is, and offers to cleanse it whiter than the virgin snow.
And here’s an interesting point … the fleece of a sheep grows and gets dirty very quickly. It is also marked up with ‘crimson’ to identify the sheep with the owner. The good Shepherd who has rescued us from the control of the enemy invites us to come and let Him remove the fleece and give us a brand new start. As the wool that has been removed, so He removes the burden of sin we may have carried for longer than we could even remember. Now we are free to follow Him, and we can identify ourselves with Him from that point.