One of the most comforting truths to remember when we are suffering or walking with a family member or friend through suffering is that our Good Shepherd is tenderly watching over His sheep. In the midst of relational difficulties, marital trouble, parenting challenges, health problems, depression, financial difficulties, job loss, and things like these, believers need to know that their Shepherd is present with them, providing for them, protecting them, and keeping His promises to them.
Perhaps there is no better place in Scripture to understand that we are the sheep of the Lord than in John 10:1–18. Jesus is the true “shepherd of the sheep” whose “sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (vv. 2–3). He brings out “all his own” and “goes before them” while they willingly “follow him, for they know his voice” (v. 4). How comforting that Jesus knows us by name. He pursues us, protects us, and provides for us. He saves us from the guilt and condemnation of sin. And He secures our inheritance in the new heaven and the new earth.
Jesus also declared, “I am the door of the sheep” (v. 7). Anyone who wants to enter the kingdom of God must enter by Jesus (v. 9). He alone saves. He can offer abundant life because He “lays down his life for the sheep” (vv. 10–11). To give God’s people abundant life, Jesus had to die on the cross, and this He did willingly. Unlike “a hired hand” (v. 12) who puts his own welfare before that of the sheep, sacrificing nothing so that he can save his own skin, Jesus put Himself on the cross, sacrificing everything so that He could save God’s people from their sin.