The names of Jesus in the book of Revelation – Part 35
In contrast to the thief who takes life, Jesus gives life. The life He gives right now is abundantly richer and fuller. It is eternal, yet it begins immediately. Life in Christ is lived on a higher plane because of His overflowing forgiveness, love, and guidance. Have you taken Christ’s offer of life?
“life…more abundantly” (v10). This verse provides a penetrating glimpse into the spiritual dynamics at work behind the scenes of human activity in our world. In history, Satan is clearly “the thief” (and usurper) whose mission is “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” people’s lives, health, families, purpose in life and everything that is good. Jesus has come to counter and destroy Satan’s sinister network of evil (1 John 3:8) by the power of the cross (Col 2:15) and by giving “life” that is redemptive and more abundant, i.e., full, to those who believe and receive Him (v. 10b; 3:16-17; 8:31-32; 20:31). No one can know and experience the abundance, the fullness of life apart from Jesus Christ and the indwelling presence of His life-giving Spirit (cf. 10:14-15; Rom 8:1-2, 9-11).
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (Jn 10:11,12)
“I am the good shepherd.” Jesus appropriated the prophetic images of the Messiah pictured in the Old Testament. This is a claim to divinity, focusing on Jesus’ love and guidance. Jesus declares Himself to be the promised good shepherd (see Ps 23:1; Is 40:11; Ezek 34; 23; 37:24).
(1) This metaphor illustrates Jesus’ tender and devoted care for His people. It is as if He is saying, “I am toward all who believe in me, as a good shepherd is toward his sheep— caring, watchful and loving.”
(2) The distinguishing mark of Christ as the good shepherd is His willingness to die for His sheep. This emphasises the uniqueness of Christ the shepherd: His death on the cross saves His sheep (Is 53:12; Mat 20:28; Mark 10:45). Christ is called the ‘good shepherd” here, the “great shepherd” in Heb 13:20 and the “chief Shepherd” in 1 Pet 5:4.
(3) Be sure to note that the minister who serves merely to earn a living or to gain honour is the “hireling,” i.e., hired hand, of vv. 12-13. True pastors care for their sheep, while false pastors think first of all of themselves and their position.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.” (Jn 10:16)
A hireling (hired hand) tends the sheep for money, while the shepherd does it for love. The shepherd owns the sheep and is committed to them. Jesus is not merely doing a job; He is committed to love us and even laid down His life for us.
“Hirelings” False teachers and false prophets do not have this commitment.
“I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” (Jn 10:14)
“I … know my sheep.” God’s knowledge of and love for His children involves personal affection, faithfulness and constant providential care. We are engraved on the palms of His hands (see Is 49:14-17). We are never out of God’s mind, for God’s eye continually watches over us for our good (cf. Ex 33:17; Jer 1:5; see Mat 10:31; Rom 8:28).
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