I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”John 10:14-18
What (or who) are you willing to die for? It’s a serious question.
In the passage above, Jesus says over and over again that as the Good Shepherd, he is willing to sacrifice His own life for the sheep. He knows those who listen to Him and in order to literally save them, He will lay down his own life, but that’s not the end.
Jesus also makes a claim of divinity here as he speaks of the Father. He would further enrage the opponents of the Gospel when He says,
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”John 10: 27-30
With those words, some wanted to stone him right then and there.
Jesus’ claims to deity are found inside some of the parables. It may sometimes sound to us that He is speaking indirectly, but for those who heard these words, the message was clear.
Christ’s claims to deity are essential to the Gospel. Without it, wouldn’t His prophesy of His own resurrection be empty? And so everything in our faith hinges on that event.
As Paul would write to the Corinthians –
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me”1 Corinthians 15:3-8
The Good Shepherd kept His word and now we have the promise of eternal life.