Drinking Deeply

Monday, March 05, 2007 at 11:11 PM

TULIP (19) - The Good Shepherd

I've previously pointed out that the limited (definite) aspect of Jesus' death is necessary by the fact that Jesus' death is spoken of in Scripture as not making "potential salvation" for people, but rather it saves. Jesus died for sin. Not just for potential sins (if they have faith), but for sin. That sin is judged in the body of Christ and the payment is paid in full. Jesus saves.

The flip side of that is that not all sins are paid for, therefore Jesus does not die for all. With this post, I hope to demonstrate that Christ knew He died for a specific group of people and was explicit about who he was dying for.

John 10
11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16And 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. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18No 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."
Within this passage, Jesus points out that he is the good shepherd. One of the qualities of being a good shepherd is that he lays down his life for the sheep.

Which sheep is he laying down his life for? Jesus points out that he has a flock that contain his own sheep. (v.14) By extension, these are the sheep that Jesus is laying down his life for. Of course, we must now ask, "are all people Jesus' sheep?"

In response to this question, we point back to v.14 again
v.14b) I know my own and my own know me
Well, we do know that Jesus knows everyone in a sense. But there is a specific meaning where Jesus does not know someone. Namely, that He does not love someone. (Matthew 7:21-23 is an example of this) Jesus also says that His sheep know Him, which certainly isn't true of many of the people of the world, as the Gospel of John testifies to so clearly (John 1:9-13).

On top of that Jesus makes it very clear that not all people are His sheep in verse 16
16And 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.
So we cannot understand Jesus saying "my sheep" in v. 14 to refer to all people as then his statement that there are other sheep not of this fold makes no sense. But maybe that just means that eventually he's going to be bringing all people into His fold. Setting aside what the question of "what does it mean that he knows his sheep in the same way that the Father knows the Son?" we can deal with that objection from the text (further in the passage).

John 10
22At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." 25Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, 26but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me,[a] is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30I and the Father are one."
Notice Jesus points out explicitly in verse 26-30 -
26but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me,[a] is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30I and the Father are one."
What does Jesus do for His sheep? He saves them. He gives them eternal life and they will never perish. Not "if they accept my offer they will never perish" but an automatic gift of God. No one will snatch them out of His hand (his sheep are already in His hand!). Those who are His sheep are saved. They will never perish and this is the promise of Christ. Hand in hand with Christ dying for them is Christ saving them.

Jesus is the good shepherd. He knows His sheep and lays down His life for His sheep. He never loses them because they are held by God's powerful hand. Soli Deo Gloria

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Blogger Evan said...

Could you comment on your interpretation of 2 Peter 2:1ff.  

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