“But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” John 10:2-4
Wonder strikes me again this morning at how our Lord knows us. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, our Savior, our King, calls each of us by name. He knows His own not just as a number, but as individuals chosen specifically to be His witnesses to the world. He calls us by name and leads us out. And He doesn’t just lead us out to the pasture and let us go on our way, expecting us to take things from there. He goes before us. So even when we walk into uncharted territory, we can trust that God knows how to prepare us for what’s ahead. We can still trust Him here. And He will continue speaking to us, reminding us of truth—that He satisfies, that He provides, that He strengthens, and that He is always with us and always faithful. Our God is very specific in His care and guidance for each of us. He doesn’t give us a cookie-cutter story. He knows you. He has good purposes for your life, things He wants to accomplish through you, ways He invites you to join Him in His work.
Reading these verses in John reminds me of a passage in Ezekiel that also uses this analogy of shepherds and sheep. The Lord begins by speaking against the leaders of Israel because they haven’t been looking after the people as they should. “The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them…My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them” (Ezekiel 34:4, 6). I love seeing God’s heart for His people here. He sees their distress and He takes it very personally. So this is what God declares regarding His sheep. In response to the vast failure of those who should have cared for His people and led them in truth and love, He takes His place as their Rescuer and Shepherd:
“For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness…I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak” (Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-16).