Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers…
This figure of speech is directly connected with a reference to the Church as a flock; to the officers as overseers, or shepherds; and to their duty as feeding the flock. It is important to inquire how far the shepherd and sheep figure will explain the scriptural allusions to redemption, or salvation by blood. The figure as used by our Lord in John 10. should be compared with the expression in our text, "which he hath purchased with his own blood." The question which we have to consider is - How does a shepherd purchase his sheep with his blood? The answer takes two possible forms.
I. THE SHEPHERD PUTS HIS LIFE IN PERIL IN DEFENDING HIS SHEEP. This is the characteristic feature of the good shepherd as opposed to the hireling. The good shepherd purchases their safety every day by his willingness to shed his blood in their defense. So a mother may be said to purchase the health of a sick child by her willingness to give her life for his, imperiling her own life by her anxious watching and care.
II. THE SHEPHERD MAY ACTUALLY GIVE HIS LIFE IN FIGHTING AND KILLING THE WOLVES. If he kills the wolves he saves the sheep, though he may himself die of his wounds; and then he plainly purchases the safety of the flock with his blood. These figures may be applied to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. He imperiled his life for our defense. He met our great foe in conflict. He overcame sin and death, and plucked death's sting away. He died indeed in the struggle, but he set us free; and so he has purchased us by his own blood. He has won, by his great act of self-sacrifice, our love and life forever. Compare the figure as employed by St. Peter (1 Peter 1:18, 19). - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.