The Good Shepherd

This week we are dwelling in the Word and exploring the seven “I Am” statements of Jesus. Today’s reading is John 10:11-19, where Jesus tells us that he is our good shepherd. This is a continuation of the metaphor he began earlier in the chapter. Israel had a lot of leaders, but hardly any of them were being good shepherds of the flock of Israel.

Instead of caring for the sheep, they were exploiting them for their own personal gain. Or, they were abandoning their sheep at the first sign of trouble. A good shepherd is devoted to their flock. They protect them, feed them, guide them, and are willing to lay down their lives for the good of the flock.

Many of us are familiar with the words of Psalm 23, which describe God as our shepherd. This picture of a loving, caring shepherd was a stark contrast to the kinds of leaders that were over Israel during the time of Jesus. He wanted us to understand the difference between worldly leaders and the Good Shepherd.

Jesus offers us life to the full, and that involves following Jesus as our Good Shepherd. He loves us, cares for us, provides us what we need, and was willing to lay down his life so that we might be saved.