“The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11b)
Bible Reading: John 10:11-18
[Jesus says] “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 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. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from My Father.”
Shepherding was one of the first jobs. Abel, second son to Adam and Eve, was a keeper of sheep. Generations after him continued in this profession.
There is quite a bit of responsibility required for this job. It was the shepherd’s daily task to find pastures where the sheep could graze and lead them to streams where they could drink. Shepherds were constantly on the lookout for danger. Night and day, shepherds would patrol for robbers, predators, or sheep wandering away from the flock. Armed with stones and staff, shepherds were prepared to nurture and protect. Throughout the years, there have been some good and bad shepherds. But there is only one Shepherd who has surpassed them all, Jesus.
We are sheep. On a daily basis, Jesus takes care of our physical needs. Through His Word, He calls us and often carries us back to the fold when we wander away. Most importantly, Jesus laid down His life to save us from sin, death, and the devil. Jesus’ death and resurrection has freed us from the enemy.
Jesus continues to wield His shepherd’s staff to care for us. He works to gather all His sheep into one flock. He continues to guide and care for us. And in time, He will lead us to streams of living water in Heaven.
Discussion: What would be the most challenging part of a shepherd’s job?
Prayer: Good Shepherd, thank You for calling me to You and taking care of my needs. I am grateful for Your sacrifice and protection. Please continue to keep me by Your side. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.