Scripture: John 10:7-17
Key verse: (11) “I am the good shepherd . . .”
Reflection: One of the most common metaphors used for God in scripture is Shepherd. God cares for us the way a shepherd takes care of a flock. However, most of us don’t know much about tending sheep or the pivotal role of the shepherd. Here are some interesting facts:
- Sheep follow a shepherd because they recognize the shepherd’s voice.
- Sheep are timid, stubborn, and easily frightened. They require more care than any other kind of livestock.
- Sheep won’t lie down or rest unless they are free from hunger and thirst, pests and fear.
- A good shepherd does everything in his or her power to provide for and protect the sheep.
It isn’t by accident that Jesus uses this metaphor and calls himself a shepherd. But, I’m not so sure I like being referred to as a sheep! Yet, I know at times I am restless and anxious; stubborn and afraid. I need the protective care of God – I need a shepherd.
Jesus identifies himself as the good shepherd. He invites us to listen for his voice, to follow in his ways, and learn to trust him. Just like a shepherd lays down his life to protect a flock of sheep, so Jesus lays down his life for us. We find rest in his loving care. He is the good shepherd and will not abandon us. He invites us to follow him. And, when we do we will move out into the world with confidence, ready to serve in his name.
Prayer: Jesus, like a shepherd lead us, much we need your tender care; in your pleasant pastures feed us. For our use your folds prepare. Blessed Jesus, help us to turn to you and receive the comfort of the promises you have made to show us mercy, grace and freedom. Help us to share your love with others. In your name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].