David was a shepherd and had a shepherd’s heart. One day, as he faithfully kept his father’s sheep, a lion came and took a lamb out of the flock. This stirred David’s heart, and he tells us: “I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him” (1 Samuel 17:35). Thus David risked his own life to save one little lamb of his father’s flock. It was helpless against a mighty lion, but David, in the power of God, was mightier and delivered the lamb.
The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ (of whom David is a picture), also keeps His Father’s sheep. He said, “My Father … gave them [to] Me” (John 10:29). We (the sheep) also have a mighty foe, the roaring lion (Satan)—and need deliverance. The Good Shepherd was prepared to accomplish this, but doing so cost Him His life. Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Nothing short of death could meet our need; in order to save us He must go all the way into death. This He did on that center cross on the hill called Calvary. In those three terrible hours of darkness He suffered for the sins of the guilty sheep, and then went down into death in order that He might overcome that mighty foe who had the power of death, and deliver the sheep “who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15).
And now, as the blessed result, He gives His followers “eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand” (John 10:28). What glorious fruit of the work of the Good Shepherd. Eternal life! Never perish! He who gave Himself for the sheep has also pledged Himself for their safety. He holds them securely in His hand, where none can ever seize them. Even more than that, “My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and My Father are one” (John 10:29,30). The Owner and the Shepherd of the sheep are one. What security!