Sheep are notoriously dumb animals. They’re right up there with lemmings. Driven by strong biological urges, lemmings migrate in large groups and may choose to cross a body of water in search of new habitat. Sadly, if the water is an ocean or a wide river, many drown by following one another out of habit.
So I suppose it shouldn’t surprise us that Jesus likens the masses as sheep without a shepherd. Or sheep that follow after a strange shepherd who disguises himself as someone who actually cares about them —namely, Satan.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (John 10:1-4).
Jesus goes on to explain that He is the door of the sheep—the way into the Kingdom of God. “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (vs. 7-9).
How can we tell the true shepherd from the imposter? Verse 10 gives us what I call the spiritual litmus test. Do you remember those small strips of colored paper that changed color depending on if they were dipped into an acid or a base? “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Satan the thief loves to deceive. He brings with him stuff that looks pleasant and even fun, but ultimately brings sorrow and leads to death. A good shepherd gives his life for his sheep. The True Shepherd gave His live for the sheep. There’s no greater manifestation of the depth of someone’s love than if they give up their life for another.
If you want a glimpse of what laying down His life looked like for the sheep, check out Isaiah 53. It is at once a horrid depiction of what the accumulation of sin in mankind looks like and a precious picture of the kind of life we have through Jesus our Lord.
The Chronos Lesson: Romans 5:6 says that while “we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Jesus knew what lay before Him. “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (John 10:17-18).
Jesus “took His life again” through resurrection. He was the firstborn from the dead (Rev. 1:5). Since He is the firstborn, we automatically know that there are more to be born from the dead. tells us who else shall receive resurrection. “And He is the Head of the Body, the Church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18). Yes, it is His Body of believers, the Church, His Bride.
This mystery relationship of the Head and the Body as one new Man confirms our identity in Christ. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Rom. 8:14-17).
We shall be glorified together when the Body is complete at the end of this age at the rapture. This unique, one-time-only offer only covers the two great Days of Today and Tomorrow (the Church Age). “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:9-10). As the Head, Christ has the preeminence. But He will be completed on the Third Day of Perfection when we are gathered together with Him. It’s a mystery beyond what we can dare ask or think!
Of course, this same time period of the two great Days of Today and Tomorrow period is marked by tribulation, persecution, and suffering for the sake of Christ. Yet when we consider the “rest of the story,” we know “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18)!