The Sacredness of Divine Nakedness
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Our erring ancestors Adam and Eve lived before the face of God in the sacredness of divine nakedness. They were safe with Him, warmed by His affectionate gaze, and they trusted His intentions for them. He knew them, He saw them as they were, and their physical nudity was a picture of the intimacy, nearness, and bond they once enjoyed with Him.
Here, Jesus reveals that unlike the hirelings who flee in the face of trouble, He has more of an investment in His sheep. He knows them, He sees them for who they truly are. He is familiar with all of their unique quirks, strangeness, and preferences. It is this familiarity, this relational investment, that drives Him to lay His life down for them. Jesus and His sheep share in the same sacred divine nakedness as Adam and Eve before the fall.
Christ knows us thoroughly. He knew us long before He allowed His hands and feet to be fixed to the Roman crucifix, and still He willingly chose to endure it. He saw, from a distance, your shoddy and inconsistent devotion to Him. He saw your feeble and half-hearted attempts at holiness. He saw all the people who hurt you, broke you, and threw you out like a piece of garbage, and how that scarred your trust. He saw you struggle under the weight of depression and loneliness. He saw you bruised and dilapidated, yet rising again and again from the ashes. He saw you gain victory, and master various skills. He saw you laughing with friends over popcorn at the movies. He saw you wrap your arms around so many people in pure displays of compassion and care. He saw absolutely all of it!
It was this familiarity, this most holy and sacred divine nakedness, that compelled Him to hang on a tree. You are His sheep, He knows you, and the cross for Him was worth it to save those who had managed to capture His affection. The picture painted in the shepherd motif is one of deep, authentic, transparent intimacy and nearness. It was this nearness that the heart of Christ longed for. It was this nearness that warranted this most beautiful and selfless act of pure devotion and commitment.
Intimacy is all He seeks from us. He desires that we will see in Him a good shepherd, a faithful friend, and a loving Father. To live as His sheep means to live a life of genuine authenticity founded on the unshakable foundation of His unrelenting faithfulness. We are invited to become as clear as glass before the penetrating rays of His affection. Adam and Eve hid behind fig leaves because of the shame and guilt of their sin, but we have been purified, once and for all, and have no reason to hide any longer. We are continually invited, gently beckoned by love, to step into the sacredness of divine nakedness. To allow Him to truly see us, know us, and in turn to know Him.