By Charlie McCall
What are the seven “I Am” statements of Jesus? Our new Bible school students knew all of them when I asked the other day. Frankly, I was surprised…and glad! But, so what? What is their significance for life today?
Jesus Christ is essentially only an ideal or principle to most Christians. Most people do not know Him as a Person. He has revealed His Person that we might have fellowship with Him and with one another. When there is no experiential knowledge of Him, we cannot have true fellowship with Him or with others (1 John 1:1-13). It is that important to know Him.
Meditating on His self-designations and yielding to His Person as so described are good places to start in knowing Him experientially. He tells us that He is: the Bread of Life; the Light of the World; the Door; the Good Shepherd; the Resurrection and the Life; the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and the True Vine.
As I have been meditating on these “I Am” statements, “The Door” and “The Good Shepherd” figures have especially been a help in knowing Christ.
Securing the Sheep
Jesus states that salvation, satisfaction, and security are provided for the sheep because of His being the door (John 10:9).
He is also the Good Shepherd. He sacrificially loves the sheep to the point of laying down His life for them (John 10:11). Being good, He not only is emotionally concerned about the sheep, but He does a good job shepherding them. He is the Good Shepherd. No one can do a better job caring for the sheep than He. In fact, in His defense of the flock, He is so extremely capable that no thief can steal His sheep.
This Capable Shepherd is committed to our welfare. He is our salvation, our satisfaction, our security, and loves us sacrificially. Regarding our tendency to stray and our fear of being stolen from Him, He tells us that we have been given His life—eternal life—and no one can take His life away. What a beautifully simple way to understand our eternal security. I will never lose my salvation because my salvation is eternal life, His life in me. He does not permit anyone to take away His life—even me, the one to whom it has been bestowed. No one takes it away!
Jesus, our Shepherd. Wholly committed to us for our salvation, satisfaction (of soul), and security. Committed to the point of death. Wholly able to shepherd. He is good. He does His job well.
Grumbling at the Flock
And to think how easily we grumble and become irritated at the sheep who bump into us, or who walk too slowly in front of us, or who seem to get in the way of our being close to Him. How silly to think that sheep would ever become irritated with other sheep when they all follow the Good Shepherd. How silly we are!
God allows other sheep to be in our path who seemingly come between the Shepherd and us. They come in the form of our children, spouse, employer, or others. However, if His enemies are not even able to do so, we can be assured that none of His sheep will ever keep the Shepherd from being all-in-all to us.
He is fully able to be all that He is to each sheep in the midst of the whole flock…salvation, satisfaction, security, sacrificing Shepherd.
That is significant!
Charlie McCall is the General Director of His Hill Bible School and Camp in Comfort, TX.