‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.’ John 10:27
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Psalm 23:1–6
What sweet music there is to us in the name which is given to our Lord Jesus Christ—‘the good shepherd’!
It not only describes the office he holds, but it sets forth the sympathy he feels, the aptness he shows and the responsibility he bears to promote our wellbeing. What if the sheep be weak, yet is the shepherd strong to guard his flock from the prowling wolf or the roaring lion. If the sheep suffer privation because the soil is barren, yet is the shepherd able to lead them into pasturage suitable for them. If they be foolish, yet he goes before them, cheers them with his voice and rules them with the rod of his command.
There cannot be a flock without a shepherd; neither is there a shepherd truly without a flock.
The two must go together. They are the fulness of each other. As the church is ‘the fulness of him that filleth all in all’, so we rejoice to remember that ‘of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.’ That I am like a sheep is a very sorry reflection, but that I have a shepherd charms away the sorrow and creates a new joy. It even becomes a gladsome thing to be weak that I may rely on his strength, to be full of wants that I may draw from his fulness, to be shallow and often at my wit’s end that I may be always regulated by his wisdom. Even so does my shame redound to his praise. Not to you, you great and mighty, who lift your heads high and claim for yourselves honour, not for you is peace, not to you is rest; but unto you, you lowly ones, who delight in the valley of humiliation and feel yourselves to be taken down in your own esteem, to you it is that the Saviour becomes dear, and to you will he give ‘to lie down in green pastures … beside the still waters.’
Meditate on Psalm 23, a great Psalm. It speaks of great possessions (v. 1), great peace (v. 2), a great pathway (v. 3), great protection (v. 4), great provision (v. 5) and great prospects (v. 6). But there is a great proviso—these blessings apply only to those who hear and follow the good shepherd, only to those who can say, ‘The LORD is my shepherd’.
C. H. Spurgeon and Terence Peter Crosby, 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 3), (Leominster, UK: Day One Publications, 2005), 351.