5 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:5–6, NKJV)
Jeremiah wrote spoke prophetically of Jesus Christ the King. He is the “Branch of righteousness” raised up by Yahweh to reign, to execute justice and righteousness, to bring salvation and safety to the people of God. Jeremiah’s predecessors, Isaiah and Micah, spoke of His coming reign of justice and righteousness (Isa. 2:2-4; 11:1-5; Micah 4:1-8). Jeremiah’s contemporary, Ezekiel, anticipated a shepherd prince who would feed God’s sheep and God would make a covenant of peace with them to dwell safely and receive “showers of blessing” from the Lord (Ezek. 34:24-28). Later, Zechariah reassured Jerusalem their king would come with salvation, riding on the foal of a donkey and speaking peace to the nations (Zech. 9:9-10; Matt. 21:1-10). God has delivered what He promised. The righteous Branch of David has come bringing salvation from sin, peace with God, and showers of blessings as the sheep of His flock (Acts 4:12; Rom. 5:1; Eph. 1:3; Jno. 10:15-16, 26-29). Do not be misled into looking for a future return of Jesus to reign as king on the earth. The King is on David’s throne now, reigning at the right hand of God (Acts 2:29-36; Heb. 1:8-13). Jeremiah said, “the days are coming,” and those days have arrived. Christ’s kingdom is His church (Acts 2:44; Mk. 1:14-15; 9:1; Matt. 16:18-19). Praise God for His great redemptive plan and the eternal spiritual blessings available to us all in His Son!
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. (John 10:27–29, NKJV)
Jesus is the good shepherd who gave His life for His sheep (Jno. 10:11). He knows His sheep and is known by them (Jno. 10:14). Jesus uses the language of God’s prophet Ezekiel as He explained His relationship with His followers: “‘You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God,’ says the Lord God” (Ezek. 34:31). Today’s passage addresses the security of believers. The Shepherd has the power to protect His sheep; that is beyond question: 1) Jesus speaks to His sheep, 10:27; 2) Jesus knows His sheep, 10:27; 3) Jesus gives them eternal life, 10:28; 4) His sheep are secure in His hand and in the Father’s hand, 10:28, 29. At the same time, His sheep make choices that contribute to their security in Christ: 1) His sheep hear His voice, 10:27; 2) His sheep follow Him, 10:27. Sheep are exposed to danger when they wander from their shepherd’s care. The same is true of Christians who stray from hearing and following the word of Christ (1 Tim. 4:1-3). Yes, Christians can fall away from Christ and be lost (Gal. 5:4; 1 Cor. 10:12). Falling away from Christ does not happen because Christ cannot save His sheep. It occurs when the sheep refuse to hear and follow the Shepherd (1 Cor. 5:1-5). Be a believer who hears and follows the voice of Jesus and be secure in Him. He will never lead you astray.
30 “Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” (John 16:30–32, NKJV)
This confession by the apostles, that Jesus came from God, was the last confession of faith they made before His death. However, within hours, they would act counter to the faith they confessed. Fearful unbelief would grip them and cause them to scatter, leaving Jesus alone and arrested in Gethsemane. We do well to take a lesson from this, as we confess our faith in Jesus. Like them, our faith can falter. When it does, we must return to the Lord like they did. Otherwise, our soul will be lost in unbelief. When Peter’s faith faltered, and he denied knowing Jesus three times, he returned to Christ (which he did, see Luke 22:32; John 21:15-19). A failing faith is not a saving faith. Yes, the sheep scattered when the Shepherd was struck, but they returned to Him after His resurrection (Matthew 26:31-32; Mark 16:9-14). Their faith grew. “Once believe, always believe” is just as dangerous and false as “once saved, always saved.” Faith unto the saving of the soul does not abandon the Lord; It endures with Him to the end (Hebrews 10:36-39).
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one. (John 10:27–30, NKJV)
The Good Shepherd gives eternal life to His sheep, who hear His voice and follow Him. These are the sheep who shall never perish. No one is able to snatch them from the hands of the Father and the Son (who are one in nature, in promise, in power and in purpose). Christians who hear and follow Jesus have this blessed promise of eternal life. But, be careful. Sheep go astray when they do not listen to the Shepherd and fail to follow Him. They do not go astray because God cannot save them, but because they choose to no longer listen to and follow the word of Jesus. They choose to depart from the faith (1 Tim. 4:1-3). There is no promise of eternal life to Christians who turn back to sin (2 Pet. 2:20-22). So, keep listening to and following the Good Shepherd. If you have wandered away from His voice, repent and return to the eternal safety of His hand.
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1–3, NKJV)
The Divine Shepherd supplies His sheep with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). Every provision for the soul comes from our Shepherd’s loving care. He gives rest to those wearied by sin’s burden, refreshing the soul with heaven’s mercy and forgiveness. He tenderly heals the broken spirit, binding the wounds of sin and replacing despair with hope’s joy; He restores my soul. He is a sure Guide as He leads His sheep away from sin’s danger and shows the righteous paths to walk. His name is honored and His holy purposes confirmed by such righteous care over us. Like David, we depend on the Lord to shepherd us through life’s trials and to save us from sin’s struggles. He alone restores the soul ravaged by sin. Seasons of refreshing from His presence await every soul who comes to Him through faith, repentance and baptism’s conversion (Acts 3:19; 2:38).
23 “I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken. 25 “I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.” (Ezekiel 34:23–25, NKJV)
This prophetic picture of Messianic peace is fulfilled in Jesus Christ and His church. In John 10:11-16, Jesus identified Himself as the good shepherd who would give His life for the sheep. He knows His sheep and His own know Him, listening to His voice to lead them to sustenance and safety. Jesus is our peace – the One who gives us peace with God and peace among ourselves as “one flock” (Jno. 10:16). People yearn for earthly peace, and many think Ezekiel is writing of future peace in a millennial kingdom. But, the gospel of peace is the “covenant of peace” that currently gives “showers of blessings” in fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prediction (Ezek. 34:26). This prophecy has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the good shepherd. His sheep have peace with God and enjoy spiritual security by hearing and following the Shepherd’s voice. Be sure to hear and follow God’s shepherd each day.
3 He spoke this parable to them, saying: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:3–7)
The Good Shepherd has compassion on every lost sheep. Like a shepherd who searches for the one lost sheep, Jesus searches for each lost soul. Furthermore, each soul is so precious that heaven responds with rejoicing when a single soul is saved. Never think you are worthless in God’s sight! He is full of compassion for you, and in love He sent His Son to save you from the wilderness of sin and death. Hear His voice and follow Him. Repent, and heaven will rejoice.