“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.” John 10:11-13 (NKJV)
Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He never flees in fear. He does not disappear in adversity. He never leaves just one lost. He is what a good shepherd should be, one who cares. Even though the wolves of this world may attack and try to wound or kill us, the Good Shepherd is with us, and will care for us within the safety of the flock.
There are many examples of “good shepherds” in our lives. Parents could be considered good shepherds. They teach, nurture and protect us. Teachers, and even other people in authority over us at different times in our lives, also fall under that definition. I had a teacher who took a personal interest in me and helped me develop my love of words. She also taught me about caring for others in that process.
Pastors often serve as good shepherds in our lives. Jesus charged them to administrate and care for the sheep of the church. This applies to sheep who are already found (saved), and to those who are lost, who do not yet know their real Good Shepherd. Pastors are held to a higher standard by God Himself, because they have great responsibility, as well as abundant influence, which can impact many souls for the Kingdom of God.
“I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15
Jesus did indeed lay down His life for His sheep, and for those who were not already His, and for all of those who had yet to be born. He knew we needed a sin offering, and so He became just that. Jesus died on the cross for us according to the will of His Father. And even though He Himself had the choice to “pass this cup” (Luke 22:41-42), He chose to accept His Father’s will, to be the sacrifice that would change the world for all time, and our lives with it.
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” John 10:17-18
If we know anything at all about sheep, we know they will follow the one they trust. They are sometimes considered to be stupid animals because of their blind obedience, and because they are very passive. But aren’t those traits the very qualities that are desirable in sheep, and in God’s own children? Not the stupid part, because that is not necessarily so, in sheep or in people. It is the acceptance of our “cup”, the decision to follow the One who truly is trustworthy, and who really cares for us, so that we may have no worries, no concerns, no anxieties. We can lay those things on Him, simply because we are His sheep. The sheep know His voice. Therefore, they can follow Him in faith and hope.
Jesus is Our Hope, and because He is, we are blessed to be known as His sheep and to know that He is our Good Shepherd. Without His loving care, we would be lost indeed.
How has Jesus demonstrated His shepherding skills in your life? Please leave a comment so that I may rejoice with you!