The well-known “shepherd hymn,” Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us, describes the compassionate care the Lord gives His children. “Savior, like a shepherd lead us, Much we need Thy tender care; In Thy pleasant pastures feed us, For our use Thy folds prepare.” The author, Dorothy Thrupp (1779–1847) wrote many hymns originally intended for children, but her words include all of us who follow the Good Shepherd.
Today’s reading teaches us several important truths. First, the Good Shepherd has a close relationship with His sheep (vv. 3–5, 27). The sheep recognize and respond to His voice by faith. In turn, He knows them each by name and leads them where they should go. This shepherd/sheep relationship is even compared to the intimate relationship between the Father and the Son (vv. 14–16).
Second, the Good Shepherd intends a full or abundant life for His sheep (v. 10). He Himself is the gate or way to salvation (v. 9), and it is absolutely secure in God’s hands (vv. 29–30). He explains: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand” (v. 28). Nothing in all the universe is “able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).
Finally, the Good Shepherd loves His sheep sacrificially, giving His life for them (vv. 11, 15, 17–18). He does so out of love and obedience to His Father as well as on His own authority. Furthermore, His sacrificial love isn’t the end of the story—He holds authority over death and the grave. They cannot hold Him. He will take up His life again!
>> Jesus’ guarantee of our salvation is sometimes called “perseverance” or “assurance of salvation.” If you feel uncertain about the security of your salvation, we encourage you to examine Romans 8:35–39; 2 Corinthians 1:21–22; and Ephesians 1:11–14—and rejoice!
Lord of all Creation, we confess that nothing can separate us from You. We, the lost sheep who could not find our way home, rejoice that You brought us to safety and now keep and protect us.