I Am the Good Shepherd

"I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:11 NASB

Jesus gives us several different pictures of the role of the good shepherd and His relationship with the sheep.  Today I want to focus on the Shepherd’s sacrifice, but I suggest you read all of John 10  to get the full picture of Jesus as the shepherd.

When talking about this passage, people often explain how sheep are dumb.  In my research, it seems that sheep aren’t quite as stupid as we would think.  I don’t know about you, but it sure makes me feel a little better about being referred to as sheep! 

Even if sheep are smarter than we thought, they still need protection from predators.  The most common predator to sheep in that day was the wolf.  The shepherd’s job was to keep both eyes open, watching for the wolf that was invariably waiting for its moment to attack.

The shepherd, when he sees the oncoming threat, with little to no thought of himself, puts himself between his flock and the wolf, using his abilities to protect his defenseless sheep.

The human race may be at the top of the food chain, but we do have a predator:  death.  Each of us fall victim to physical death one way or another.  But our Shepherd knew of the threat to our lives.  He chose to put Himself in between His flock and death.  Because He sacrificed Himself for us, death has lost its power.

"O Death, where is your victory?  O Death, where is your sting?"  1 Corinthians 15:55 NASB

Even though we still die in the physical sense, those of us who have chosen Christ as our Shepherd can know that death is no longer what sin made it to be.  Death has no victory; the victory has been given to us.  Because the Shepherd gave His life for us, death has become no more than another step on the journey.  It is a big step, but it is the step that takes us from the imperfect, trouble-filled world we’ve been in to the glorious place the Father has prepared for us.  The predator, the enemy, has been defeated.

The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23 NASB

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