The Good Shepherd

Have you ever been in group of people and there is one person who seems to be the leader? Everyone stops to listen when they speak. People follow their instructions without delay if any are given. These leaders are people who are confident in themselves and others want to be like them.

My husband, Caleb, is this way. He can captivate a room with his words and stories. He can tell people what to do and it gets done. As a matter of fact, people come looking to him for answers on what should be done, even if he has no clue! He’s just that kind of person that seems to know what’s going on, even if he doesn’t. He has grown to have this confidence because he has learned to follow the ultimate leader – the Good Shepherd.

In John chapter 10 verse 11, Jesus calls Himself the “good shepherd.” This is another interesting metaphor for himself that might not seem like something super relevant to us today, but we all probably know that a shepherd takes care of sheep. But what does that entail? Well, the basic requirements are that they protect the sheep from harm, such as wolves or bears or cliffs or even poisonous plants. They make sure the sheep all get along and are free of deadly parasites. And of course, they lead them from pasture to pasture making sure they are well fed and watered. This is what Jesus says about the kind of Shepherd He is:

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. John 10:11-18

Jesus is comparing Himself as a good shepherd to the things or people in our lives that we try to follow. Social media, career paths, relationships, grades – none of these things will be there for us when we are under attack. None of these things can save us because they don’t care about us or will sacrifice for us. But Jesus already did that. He sacrificed Himself on a cross over 2,000 years ago for us so that we no longer have to pay the price for our sin. We can now have a better relationship with God because of this sacrifice.

But Jesus didn’t stop being our shepherd then; He still continues to care for us! A picture of what Jesus does for us if we follow Him and let Him be our shepherd is in the famous Psalms 23. Pay attention to all the action words that the shepherd does while you read it.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Reading through this I find so much comfort. Through Jesus we have all that we need. He lets us rest and leads us to peace. We are renewed and restored. We are guided in the right direction, and when the path does get dark and scary, we know that He is with us in that place protecting and comforting us. We are honored and blessed. We are pursued by goodness and love forever because of our Good Shepherd.

As Jesus said in John 10:18, He knows His sheep and His sheep are called to know Him. I pray that you know the Good shepherd. Sometimes it’s a process though, just like making a new friend. You have to spend time with Him by praying and reading the Bible. Start with Psalms 23 and ask Jesus to bring all these things in your life. Allow Him to guide you through every situation and always listen for His voice. When you begin to know Him, you will blessings unfold. Follow the Good Shepherd.

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