"I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep" (John 10:11).
Who is our shepherd? Is it Jesus, the Good Shepherd? Is it the One who knows His sheep by name-the One who would care for His helpless sheep even if it meant dying for them? Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep" (vv.14-15).
Or is our shepherd someone less loving-someone who might lead us in paths of righteousness for a while, but desert us when the going gets rough (v.13)?
Most of us at some notable times in our lives-or even at periodic intervals or as a natural lifelong habit-get off the path of righteousness. Just as sheep tend to go their own silly ways, we continually err and fall into ruts of sin and ignorance. Perhaps at those times more than any other, we look around for a shepherd. We feebly bleat until we find a leader we can look to-one who will guide us toward security. But in following anyone other than the Good Shepherd, grave danger lurks. How can we know who that one is? Whom does he follow? How firmly ingrained are his principles of righteousness? Will he never, never fail?
Anyone but the Good Shepherd will surely disappoint us and eventually lead us astray. None but the Lord Jesus is meant to be the Shepherd. Everyone else certainly will fail and step off the right path at some point. Only the Good Shepherd-sinless, One with the Father-knows and loves His sheep fully. He alone is worthy to be followed.
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (vv.27-28). KLB