A Shepherd looks at the GOOD SHEPHERD #16
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).
THERE ARE OCCASIONS on which it is imperative that an author
share his own inner struggle in search of spiritual truth. For
all of us there are sections of the Scriptures where we have
found difficulty in arriving at veracity. All of us are pilgrims
on the path, and no matter how sincerely we endeavor to follow
our Good Shepherd, there are times when we stumble.
For me the two verses above, taken together, "seemed" to
pose an insurmountable problem. In verse 29 our Lord states that
His Father "is greater than all." In almost the next breath He
asserts He and His Father are one.
The false cults who eternally deny the deity of Christ have
capitalized on this "apparent" contradiction. In fact, it is a
passage they exploit to the maximum in order to undermine the
faith of those who have placed their simple confidence in Christ
as God, very God.
It was not until I undertook a deep study on this section
that at last the clear light of its meaning began to break
through. What previously was puzzling has now become exceedingly
precious. And it is with distinct joy and a sense of triumph that
the closing chapter of this book can be written.
Once more light has replaced darkness, love has taken the
place of despair. The result is that I am much richer for it, and
I trust you the reader will be as well.
In Dr.Weymouth's remarkable translation this reads:
"What my Father has given me is greater than all, and no one is
able to wrest anything from my Father's hand. I and the Father
In the translation by Knox the meaning is made even more
"This trust which my Father has committed to me is more precious
than all else; no one can tear them away from the hand of my
Father. My father and I are one."
What is this trust of such supreme importance? What is this
enormous responsibility? What is greater than all else in God's
Wonder of wonders, and marvel of marvels, it is His own
keeping of His own sheep!
This disclosure humbles my spirit and draws me to Him with
bonds of love stronger than steel, tougher than tungsten. To
realize that from God's standpoint the most precious thing is the
preservation of His people, those who have come to put their
confidence in Him, who have come under His control, overwhelms
our hearts. In response to such compassion and caring for me
there springs up within my soul an overflowing stream of
gratitude. "O my God, how great You are! O my Shepherd, how
wondrous are Your ways!"
I really know of no other declaration by our Lord that so
stills my spirit in quiet adoration and gentle awe. To know that
though I am weak and wayward and often downright difficult to
handle, to Him who loves me I am very precious. This pulverizes
my pride and draws me to Him.
There is something tremendously touching in this truth. It
strips away all the misgivings I may have about belonging to the
Shepherd of my soul. It overwhelms me with confidence and joyous
assurance. "O Christ, to You I am precious!" "O great Shepherd,
to You I am special! O Father, to You I am the supreme object of
Your care and affection! I have been accepted, beloved, and
wanted above all else."
Is it any wonder that He will do everything possible within
His power to preserve and keep me in His hand? Am I surprised to
see that the supreme price paid for my reconciliation to Him, was
paid gladly and freely with His own life? It was His precious
blood shed so willingly for us that now makes us so valuable. It
is His touch upon my life and its transforming power to take a
sinner and change him into a joyous son that makes me so precious
It is not who I am that makes me special to God. Rather,
now, it is WHOSE I am that makes me precious.
There is no intrinsic merit in my makeup that He should
esteem me as someone significant. In fact, the opposite is the
case, for by His revelation He declares me to be undone before
But bless His dear name, it is the impact of His life upon
mine that makes all the difference. It is the immense
emancipation of His salvation that sets me free to follow Him. It
is the joyous sharing of Himself with me by His Spirit that
empowers me to do His will. It is the strong touch of His mighty
hand upon my life that changes my character, alters my conduct,
and conforms my lifestyle to His.
This is to become His person. This is to become the sheep of
His pasture. This is to become a member of His family. This is to
enjoy an exquisite, intimate relationship in which I am His and
He is mine. No wonder then that to Him I am exceedingly precious.
Of course, to our contemporaries we may not seem to be very
special. In fact, some may even look upon us with a jaundiced
eye, calling us "odd," "religious fanatics," or even "square."
But let us never forget that they do not see us as God does. They
can, at best, observe only our outward appearance and behavior,
whereas our Shepherd knows us through and through. And though
knowing even the worst about us still loves us with an enduring
love because we are His.
This truth came home to me with tremendous impact as a young
man when I started to build up my first sheep ranch. Because all
my life previously I had worked with cattle, sheep seemed strange
and unfamiliar. So I sought expert advice and help from anyone
who would give it to me. I was determined that I would keep only
the finest stock and breed the best animals it was possible to
produce. There would be no half-way measures. My sheep were
special and would become increasingly precious.
I went to see an elderly, white-haired, highly esteemed
sheep breeder who lived about thirty miles away. He was a Scot,
who, like so many livestock men from Scotland, stand tall among
the world's finest breeders of quality animals. Gently and
graciously he led me out to his fields where his flock was
grazing. In a small pasture about a dozen superb, big, strong
rams were resting in the shade. An endearing look of commingled
love, affection, pride, and delight filled his soft brown eyes as
he leaned on the fence rail letting his gaze run over his rams.
"Well," he said softly, "pick out whichever ram you wish, son."
He smiled at me warmly, "You are just a young man starting out
with sheep. I want you to have the best!"
I replied that only he knew which was the finest ram. It was
he who had poured the long years of his life and skill and
expertise into these sheep. It was he, who, with infinite care,
patience, and perseverance had selected those which ultimately
would become the finest stock on the whole continent. Only he
knew which was the most valuable ram in his possession. Only he
knew how great and precious it was to him.
Not hesitating a moment he swung open the gate with his big
gnarled hands and strode in among the rams. Quickly he caught
hold of a fine, handsome ram with a bold, magnificent head and
"This is Arrowsmith II," he said, running his hands gently
over the ram. "He is the supreme Grand Champion Suffolk Ram and
has won all the top awards across the country!" He rubbed the
ram's ears softly in an affectionate caress. "No one else has
ever handled him but me. He's my top prize ram ... tremendously
valuable ... more than that .... very precious to me in a very
I could understand exactly what he meant. I was not
surprised to see a misty look steal across his eyes. And I
considered it one of the greatest honors of my life that he would
permit me to take the ram home to become the top sire for my
That day it came home to me with great clarity that what
made the difference between one sheep and another was the owner.
In whose hand had they been? Who was responsible for breeding,
raising, and shepherding them? Was it a grand flockmaster? Was it
a superb sheepman?
And so it is with us. Are we in God's hands? Who is handling
us, shaping us? Whose are we? Whose life is molding mine?
Jesus said, "I and the Father are One!" It matters not
whether we speak of being in the hands of God our Father, or
under the control of Christ our Good Shepherd, or guided gently
by the gracious Holy Spirit; we are inevitably in the hands of
To us today this is fairly understandable. We accept this
concept without question. To us who believe He is precious (I
But in speaking to the Pharisees, His straightforward
declaration that He was one with His Father immediately alienated
His audience. His simple, honest, legitimate claim to deity
antagonized His hearers. He was declaring Himself to be God, very
God, and they determined to destroy Him for it.
On that dark day when the mob grabbed up rocks from the
ground to stone Him, they recognized that He had answered their
query: "If Thou be Christ - tell us plainly!"
He had, and they rejected His claim.
He said He was One with God the Father, and they were
furious. He had come to them as the Good Shepherd, prepared to
lay down His life for His sheep, but they would not have Him.
Only two young people from among this angry, hostile crowd had
responded to His invitation: the young woman taken in adultery
and the young man born blind. Both had felt the touch of His hand
on their lives. Both had turned to Him for restoration. Both went
on from there exulting in a new dimension of life. They were
remade in the Shepherd's care.
The same choice still confronts mankind. The majority still
spurn the Good Shepherd.
Yet to those who hear His voice, respond to His call, come
under His care, follow Him, His commitments come true. They find
life, overflowing life, fulfilling life, and they find it in rich
measure. It is life in Christ and Christ in them.
Yes, when God, the Godhead, the TWO eternal beings (one we call
"Father" today and the other "Christ") decided to make man in the
image of God, decided on a plan to make it possible for human,
sinful mankind, to become eternal, be saved from sin and death;
that Godhead was setting about to create the GREATEST CREATION of
everything they had created. The Godhead was wanting this human
physical kind to inherit eternal life, not as some kind of angel
beings, but as very BEINGS OF THE VERY GODHEAD!!
Christians are forever saying they are the children of God. But
few of them ever STOP to REALLY MEDITATE on what that "children
of God" phrase actually means. Most do not even search the
Scriptures to find out that it really means to be called a "child
of God." Oh, yes they can understand what it means for parents (a
man and woman) to have literal children born of their very own
flesh and blood, but they often do not acquaint the physical to
what God is doing to have literal children born to Him.
The New Testament is loaded with verses on the truth of this
matter; the truth of what God is doing in saving human persons
from death and giving them eternal life as His very children. The
depth of LOVE and SHARING that the Godhead wants to GIVE to you
and to me, is truly mind-blowing. Yet it is true, and it is
explained over and over again by the inspired words of the New
If you are relatively new to Christianity and/or reading the
Bible. Now that you have read the two books by Phillip Keller ("A
Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23" and "A Shepherd looks at the GOOD
SHEPHERD"); then if you have not yet done so, you need to now go
and study my studies called "Saved by Grace" and "A Christians
Destiny" - learn HOW to be saved to eternal life, and WHAT kind
eternal life the Godhead wants to give and share with you. It is
more than wonderful, it is truth that cannot be described in the
words of man's making. The human mind can only grasp a tiny
fraction of the deep meaning in being a "child of God" -
nevertheless, that tiny fraction, The Godhead wants you to know,
and by knowing, feeling it in the depths of your mind and heart,
you will be HUMBLED! You will then want to LOVE the Lord your God
with all your heart, mind, and life. You will want to respect and
honor and serve and obey, the Father and His Son Christ Jesus.
It is my prayer that YOU, yes you personally who are reading
these words, will accept Jesus as your personal Savior, and
desire to live by every word of God, as Jesus said an individual
should so do (Matthew 4:4).
It is my prayer that you will be indeed a very child of God.
The two books by Phillip Keller entered on this Website, November