Salvation, Libery, Food and Safety: John 10

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 5
OH 10{THIS beautiful scripture brings before us, first, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; next, His actings in grace. It is a great thing to know who He is, and what He is, who laid down His life for the sheep, and has put them for security in His hand. This, then, is what we learn in the commencement of John 10; Christ simply declares Himself here to be the true Messiah of Israel, the One who should come. He it was who entered by the door into the sheepfold; that is, He came by divine appointment and sanction to be the Shepherd of Israel, who were the people of God's pasture, and the sheep of His hand. He did not climb up some other way, as all the false ones did; they were at best but thieves and robbers, claiming unlawfully that to which they had no right. Not so Christ. He came in by the door, submitting to every rule and ordinance appointed by the owner of the flock-the Jehovah of Israel. Beloved reader, how blessed to think of Him, the eternal Son of God as He was, yet He comes down and humbles Himself to be a man, and as a man submits Himself perfectly! But Israel would not have Him; they slighted, despised, and rejected Him. So He leaves. He goes outside the fold of Israel, the enclosure which was peculiar to it. This is what is meant by "He goeth before them"-as rejected and despised of His own people. He Himself goes first, and then He puts forth His own sheep, and they follow Him, for they know His voice. This was exactly the case of the blind man in John 9, who was cast out, and had been found by Jesus. What a blessed Shepherd by whom we are led and fed! How good to be under His care outside all man's religion, and the whole array of those ordinances which belonged to Israel!
Having thus set Himself forth in this way-His person the only ground of connection with God-He then opens out most blessedly what it is that replaces the old Jewish thing, Himself the foundation and accomplisher of it.
First-There is salvation. "By Me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved." He now presents Himself as the door. He, and He alone is the door; to enter in by that door was to be saved. He had laid down His life, costly and precious as it was. His blood was shed. It was His own voluntary act to shed His blood, lay down His life; no one had taken it from Him. As to necessity, there was none on His side, save indeed that blessed love of His, which would remove every barrier to its full expression.
Again, think of Him in contrast with a hireling. The hour of danger or of difficulty would find the latter thinking of himself, Him, the Shepherd of His sheep. If He then interposes, if He lays down His life, sheds His blood, the first thing that meets us at the door is salvation. "By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved."
Again, there is also liberty. "He shall go in and out." Slavery and bondage is the birthright of every child of Adam. He is born into the world a slave. The moment he has to do with Christ, he is met with salvation and liberty-he is liberated, he is free, and there is also food-"shall find pasture." Oh, for ability to describe the richness of the food! Saved, liberated, brought into a region where want is unknown-"I shall not want." Not only this, but filled, satisfied; and hence it is "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." And observe, it is, "if any man enter in." It is not only now the children of Abraham, the nation of Israel; the door of grace in Himself is wide open to all. Will you say, my reader, if you know what it is to be blessed in this way under this gracious Shepherd Lord? Have you had to do with Him? It must be He; for it is "by Me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved." Oh, what a contrast to all our purely natural thoughts of God and His Christ! What a contrast to all that was to be found in the law or ordinances! Neither the one nor the other could carry the first need to a poor outcast of either Jew or Gentile. The law required, not saved -the law brought in death, not life-but, "by Me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved;" and "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly," is grace in its fullness.
Once more: we have here also eternal security. The life which Christ gives is eternal everlasting; but not this only, for of His sheep He says, "they shall never perish." But, then, where will He put them to secure them against enemies from without? He makes them as strong outside as inside. No weakness within could endanger, for it was "eternal life," He gave, and no enemy outside could harm them, for He has the sheep in His hand. The hand that was nailed to the cross is the secure shelter and rest for all the sheep. Oh, what contrasts are awakened in the soul as we read that word, "My hand"-"My Father's hand!" Not the walls and barriers, the laws and ordinances of Israel of old, the fold; but His hand, His Father's hand. The thought of their security is linked with the eternal power of God, for the sheep are in His Father's hand. "I and my Father are one." Could anything be more wonderful than the infinite grace, boundless love, and almighty power which are all in Christ, in His own Person exclusively, and yet wide enough, most surely; for it is, "by me if any man enter in;" and Christ is here all, and in contrast with all. It is no longer the ancient sheepfold of Israel, with its walls and ordinances, but the Person of the Christ, the Good Shepherd, the living Lord, who died; and it is Himself in contrast with the thief, the robber, and the hireling-they seeking to enrich themselves, or to escape danger, at the expense of the sheep, He, in that blessed, peculiar love of His, giving His life for the sheep. It is no longer Judaism, but salvation, liberty, food, and eternal security; it is no longer the darkness of death, but the light of life. Oh, reader, have you had personally to do with Christ? Have you by Him, the door, entered in? Have you turned away from yourself, your sins, and your sorrows, as well as your goodness, and gone to Jesus? Has He not made good a claim on your heart?
The Lord, by His Spirit, set Him in all the attractiveness of His grace so before you, that you may by Him enter in, and so know the richness and fullness of that salvation, liberty, food, and security which are in Him and by Him.
"When blood from a victim must flow,
This Shepherd, by pity, was led
To stand between us and the foe,
And willingly died in our stead.
Our song, then, forever shall be
Of the Shepherd who gave Himself thus;
No subject 's so glorious as He,
No theme so affecting to us."
W. T. T.