John 10:11

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
John 10:11
In John 10, Jesus uses the descriptive imagery of sheep and a shepherd. He begins by acknowledging that he is the gate for the sheep, and whoever enters through him is saved. Following this ‘I am’ statement, Jesus goes on to say ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.’ We see that Jesus is not only the gate for the sheep, but He also tends to His flock.

This passage helps us to gain perspective on humans by examining sheep. We learn how sheep are not the smartest animals in the world, just as humans are not very wise. And because the sheep are not the smartest and they are in need of a shepherd, so we are also in need of a shepherd. While these lessons can be beneficial, if our main focus is on the sheep, we miss the main point of the text. If our eyes are fixed on the sheep, we take our eyes away from the most important part - the good shepherd.
 
Jesus tells us in verse 12, he’s not just some hired hand, in it to benefit himself. A hired hand will often flee when his product, store, or in this case sheep, are in danger. Owners or shepherds approach evil and danger quite differently. Instead of fleeing for safety in the face of danger, the good shepherd does quite the opposite. He lays down his life for his sheep when they encounter evil or are threatened. What is beautiful about this imagery is that Jesus laid down his life and conquered the greatest evil, sin and death.
 
Defeating sin and death changes everything for us. We see throughout scripture that the good shepherd is one who prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies, meaning he offers peace that surpasses understanding. Peace amidst pain, trial, loss and grief. The good shepherd is also the one who walks with us in the valley of the shadow of death. The enemy has come to kill, steal and destroy. The good shepherd does the exact opposite, ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’
 
So, let’s keep our eyes on the Good Shepherd today. The Shepherd who has promised us life to the full. Rest here and find joy, hope and peace in abundant life.

Jay Quick | Student Ministries Director

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