John 10:14 “I am the Good Shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”
Jesus is the Good Shepherd. The word he uses for “good” does not emphasize his goodness in the moral sense. Certainly Jesus is morally good, too. But Jesus is the Good Shepherd because he is capable, he is competent: he cares for his sheep the way it is supposed to be done.
That’s because Jesus knows his knows his sheep. When I worked on my uncle’s dairy farm, he knew about cows. He attended the University of Minnesota where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in animal husbandry–the science of taking care of animals. He subscribed to the leading professional magazines and journals for dairy farmers. He attended trade shows to stay on top of the latest technology and research. My uncle knew cows.
But more than that, he knew his cows. Instead of numbers, he gave them names. When I started working for him, they all looked the same to me. But he knew his own by sight, whether they were standing in the stall or grazing in the pasture. He knew their age and how much they were producing. He had a specially developed diet for each one. He could describe to you the differences in their personalities. My uncle knew his cows, you might say, personally.
That’s how Jesus knows his sheep, his people like you and me. He knows all about sheep, of course, because he invented us and designed us himself. But more than that, he knows us as his sheep–personally, by sight, by name. He knows our strengths, weaknesses, and special needs. As a result, he is constantly adjusting his care to fit our life and circumstances individually.
So something goes wrong in your life (and something is always going wrong, isn’t it?). We pour out our hearts in prayer to our Good Shepherd to help us, and he listens. He knows us and our need, but that is not the first he heard of it. Whether we think to pray or not, Jesus knows his own. He knows things about our situation we don’t even know ourselves. He knows how it will affect us. He knows what we can stand.
Then he goes to work caring for our souls just the way we need, because the Good Shepherd knows his sheep.