January 24, 2015
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Ex. 3:13-14)
God revealed Himself to Moses as “I Am.” Jesus Christ also identified Himself as “I Am.” The Jews were trying to embarrass Him by alluding to His virgin birth. They said to Him, “We know who our father is. It is Abraham. Who is your father?” Jesus blew them away with these words, “Your father Abraham saw my day and was glad.”
Their response was understandable. They answered, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” Jesus answer was absolutely amazing. “Before Abraham was born, I Am.” He said that He existed before Abraham! He was exposing His true identity as the God-Man by making known His eternal nature (John 8:37-59).
Jesus used His I am identity to make clear seven of His most incredible characteristics. We saw in the previous blog that He referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd. Looking further into His role as the Good Shepherd, we find this statement from His lips, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he shall be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).
Shepherds in Israel were different from those in the rest of the world. Each shepherd had only a small flock of sheep to care for. They did not use dogs to control their sheep; the shepherds took that responsibility themselves. A single shepherd cared for a flock of sheep throughout the sheep’s life. In time, the shepherd developed a special relationship with his sheep. Each sheep would be named and would come to recognize the voice of its’ owner. Jesus knows His sheep by name, and His sheep recognize His voice.
Shepherds would often pool their money and build a large sheepfold in a city to house their sheep. They would then hire a person, a hireling, to watch over the flock through the night. Though the hireling may sincerely care for the sheep, he did not care as much as the owner. If the sheep were threatened by danger from thieves or predators, the hireling may decide to abandon the sheep. The owner, on the other hand, would most likely stay and defend the sheep, even to death. Jesus claimed to be this kind of shepherd of His flock. He would lay down His life for His sheep (John 10:15).
When out in the countryside looking for pasture, the shepherd would build a temporary sheepfold for His sheep. He would use whatever materials were available. Sometimes the fence would be made of wood and rocks but most likely large rocks. The sheepfold would have a single door. This way the shepherd could count the sheep as they went in and out. During the night, the shepherd would sleep in the door. The shepherd would literally “become” the door. Any predator or thief would have to come through the shepherd to get to the sheep, and the sheep would have to come by the shepherd to get out. This way the sheep could be kept securely in the pen.
This gives deep meaning to the words of Christ, “I am the door of the sheepfold. He who believes in Me will be saved and go in and out and find pasture.” Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved. He is the door that leads to eternal life. The believer entering through this Door will go into forever life and be protected and preserved by the Good Shepherd. Going out to find pasture means that the Good Shepherd will feed and nurture the believer eternally. The Lord Jesus Christ is truly the Door. All who enter by Him shall never want.
“They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17).