The Good Shepherd
Scripture reading for November 3rd: John 9-12
We are likened to sheep in the Bible. People resemble sheep in a number of ways. We all need a shepherd or we easily get into trouble. Sheep are known to wander away looking for food and when separated from the flock, they are virtually helpless to defend themselves. They also depend on the shepherd to guide them to the pastures and to tend to their needs. Even a group of them have very little that they can do to protect themselves. They are easy prey for predators and make tasty meals!
Jesus taught His followers that He was the gate for the sheep. (John 10:7-10) As the gate, all sheep who entered through Him would be saved and would find safe pasture. Those who found this gate would find life and abundance of life. The thief, (Satan) came to steal, kill and destroy the sheep, but Jesus would protect them in His fold.
Jesus taught His followers that He was the good shepherd of the sheep. (John 10:11-18) As a good shepherd, He would lay His life down for the sheep. A hired hand runs away when the wolf comes because he really doesn’t care for the sheep, but for his own life. Jesus knew His sheep and they knew Him. His sheep would not follow another stranger, because they knew His voice. Jesus, as the good shepherd, had other sheep outside of the flock at Israel. He was their shepherd too!
Jesus told his followers that He would voluntarily lay His life down for His sheep. But after He lay it down, He would also take it up again. He said this to indicate the resurrection that would occur on the third day after laying His life down. We who follow Jesus know that His death was on our behalf. He took our sin and bore it’s penalty so we could be free. He faced the wolf, and won by giving Himself! What a Savior! What a Good Shepherd who really loves His sheep enough to die for them! He now lives to pray for us and has given us the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us through this life to the green pastures and still waters of the Kingdom! Do you know His voice? Are you one of His own sheep? Today is a good day to surrender!