"My Sheep," ~ by J.C. Ryle

June 26, 2008

My sheep
(J.C. Ryle, "The Gospel of John")

"My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand." John 10: 27, 28

Christ calls His people, "My sheep."

The word "sheep," no doubt, points to something in the character and ways of true Christians. It would be easy to show that weakness, helplessness, harmlessness, usefulness--are all points of resemblance between the sheep and the believer. But the leading idea in our Lord's mind was the entire dependence of the sheep upon its Shepherd.

Just as a sheep hear the voice of their own shepherd, and follow him--so do believers follow Christ. By faith they listen to His call. By faith they submit themselves to His guidance. By faith they lean on Him, and commit their souls implicitly to His direction.
The expression, "My sheep," also points to the close connection which exists between Christ and believers. They are His by gift from the Father, His by purchase, His by election and the effectual calling, and His by their own consent and heart submission.

In the highest sense they are Christ's property; and just as a man feels special interest in that which had bought at a great price and made his own--so does the Lord Jesus feel a peculiar interest in His people.

We should notice the vast privileges which the Lord Jesus Christ bestows on true Christians. He uses words about that, of singular richness and strength.
Christ "knows" His people with a special knowledge of interest and affection. By the world around them they are comparatively unknown, uncared for, or despised. But they are never forgotten or overlooked by Christ.
Christ "gives" His people "eternal life." He freely bestows on them--a right and title to heaven, pardoning their many sins, and clothing them in a perfect righteousness.

Money, and health, and worldly prosperity He often wisely withholds from them. But He never fails to give them grace, peace and glory.

Christ declares that His people "shall never perish." Weak as they are--they shall all be saved. Not one of them shall be lost and cast away; not one of them shall miss heaven. If they ere--they shall be brought back; if they fall--they shall be raised. The enemies of their souls may be strong and mighty--but their Savior is mightier; and none shall pluck them out of their Savior's hands! "My sheep shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand."

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