14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
Jesus’ relationship to the sheep is a personal one.
I am the good shepherd;
The “good shepherd” protects the sheep. He is willing to die for them.
and I know My sheep,
The good shepherd knows his sheep personally. He protects, cares, feeds and is willing to die for them. The word “my” indicates Jesus’ special ownership of the sheep.
and am known by My own.
Sheep respond reciprocally to the shepherd. They know he cares for them. This phrase picks up the previous statement “the sheep hear his voice” and the shepherd summons his sheep by “name” (Jn 10:3).
As the Father knows Me,
The same pattern of reciprocal relationship between the shepherd and sheep is found between the Father and the Son. The Father’s knowledge of Christ established Jesus’ authority as the Messiah (Mt 11:27).
even so I know the Father;
Since there is reciprocal experiential knowledge between the Father and Jesus, Jesus’ relationship to the sheep rests on His mutual rapport with the Father.
and I lay down My life for the sheep.
Jesus’ indication that He will “lay down” His life for the sheep is a prediction of His coming death on the cross.
The word “for” means that He became a substitution of suffering for the sin of others. He paid the price for their sin. He took their hell so that they could have His heaven (Ro 5:8, 10; 2 Co 5:21; 1 Pe 2:24; 3:18). His death gave them eternal life.
Since Jesus knows us, He knows our needs.
Jesus knows every single one of His sheep. He knows them personally. He knows their names. This is a pattern established from eternity where the Father and Son know each other thoroughly. There is reciprocity between Jesus and His people. He meets our need/s.
True Christian leaders do not think of themselves first. They do not use their followers for their own personal advantage. They think of the welfare of their followers first and foremost.