I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. John 10:11.
Christ … likens Himself to a shepherd. “I am the good shepherd,” He declares; “the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:11, 14, 15).
As an earthly shepherd knows his sheep, so does the divine Shepherd know His flock that are scattered throughout the world. “Ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 34:31).”
In the parable of the lost sheep, the shepherd goes out to search for one sheep—the very least that can be numbered. Discovering that one of his sheep is missing, he does not look carelessly upon the flock that is safely housed, and say, I have ninety and nine, and it will cost me too much trouble to go in search of the straying one. Let him come back, and I will open the door of the sheepfold and let him in. No; no sooner does the sheep go astray than the shepherd is filled with grief and anxiety. Leaving the ninety and nine in the fold, he goes in search of the straying one. However dark and tempestuous the night, however perilous and uncertain the way, however long and tedious the search, he does not falter until the lost is found.
With what relief does he hear in the distance its first faint cry! Following the sound, he climbs the steepest heights; he goes to the very edge of the precipice, at the risk of his own life. Thus he searches while the cry, growing fainter, tells him that his sheep is ready to die.
And when the straying one is found, does he command it to follow him? … No; he lays the exhausted sheep on his shoulder, and with cheerful gratitude that his search has not been in vain, he returns to the fold. His gratitude finds expression in songs of rejoicing. And “when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost” (Luke 15:6).
So when the lost sinner is found by the Good Shepherd, heaven and earth unite in rejoicing and thanksgiving. For “joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (verse 7).
In our work, individual effort will accomplish much more than can be estimated. It is for the want of this that souls are perishing. One soul is of infinite value; Calvary speaks its worth. One soul won to Christ will be instrumental in winning others, and there will be an ever-increasing result of blessing and salvation.