Theme of the Week: Who Is Jesus?
Bible Verse: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me. John 10:11, 14
Scripture Reading: John 10:11-21
I’m a dog person. Well, I say that, but I’ve only ever had one dog. Probably more accurate is that I’m not a cat person (although kittens are almost painfully cute).
My one dog was named Mitzy; she was a mutt—a mix of breeds. I was 7 when we got her. She slept in my bed, curled up under my covers. I did most of her chores. I loved her. Still have pictures of her in my photo albums. The summer after my grade four year, she was hit by a car. It was devastating. I cried for days. As young as I was, there was still a palpable sense of loss and grief.
My family had many dogs after Mitzy (all of my family are dog people). But none of them were “mine” in the same way Mity was. I can’t say that I would have given up my life for hers, but I understand connection.
When Jesus says that he is the good shepherd, the first thing he follows it with is the fact that the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. That’s an interesting first descriptor. There’s no mention here of providing food and water, or of finding or building shelter for them.
The thing that seems most important to Jesus about being the good shepherd is the recognition that there are threats to the safety, well-being, and very lives of the sheep and that the shepherd confronts those wolves head on, ready to sacrifice his own life for the sake of the sheep. That is a deep love and commitment.
Of course, real sheep are vulnerable to real wolves. And spiritual sheep are vulnerable to spiritual wolves. It is sometimes difficult to identify what those wolves might be, “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16), but they are out there, and they are hungry for juicy lamb chop. Sometimes we forget that Jesus has given His life to protect us from these wolves.
Jesus laid down his life so that when these wolves threaten, we have protection. We can rely on the safety that he provides by resting in Him. When we feel as though the wolves are circling, we need to ask Jesus for the protection the good shepherd provides.
Prayer: Jesus thank you that you were willing to sacrifice to provide safety for your sheep. I don’t always look to you when I am feeling threatened by the wolves of this world. Help me to see and rely on the protection you provide.
Reflection: What wolves threaten your spiritual safety? How can you rely on the protection of the good shepherd?
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