“I am the Good Shepherd,” Jesus told the Pharisees, the man to whom He had given sight, and all others who were listening. ” The Good Shepherd sacrifices His life for His sheep.”
Jesus contrasted Himself to a hired hand, one who does not own the sheep but is only working for the money. When the danger comes, He said, the hireling will leave the sheep and run away for his own safety.Notice that Jesus said…”sacrifices His life for the sheep.” This speaks of continuous action, not only a single event. Jesus lived in glory and complete harmony with His Father in His home of Heaven; He sacrificed that life to save men who were all hopelessly lost.
Leaving the glory of heaven to come to earth, He laid aside His reputation, His rights as the creator, owner, and ruler of all. He came in obscurity, born in a manger in a stable in a tiny, unimportant and troubled province of the Roman Empire.
Even that life, He sacrificed. He was thronged from morning to night by the sick, the blind, the lame, and the demon-possessed– all begging for healing. He shared the secrets of His Father’s kingdom with crowds that did not understand Him and the religious establishment that hated Him.
And finally, forsaken by all his followers, and even at last by His Father, He sacrificed His life on the Cross, a willing substitute, submitting to the judgment of God against the sin of the whole world.
In every possible way, Jesus showed the difference between the Divine Love of God and the selfish nature of man. And today, His followers still lay down their lives for Him, and for a world in desperate need.