Tuesday, April 5, 2011

John 10:1-21


The Good Shepherd

There is no better analogy describing Jesus than referring to him as "the good Shepherd." The area of Judea where Jesus ministered was very pastoral and therefore a valuable figure for the culture was the shepherd. In that age there were no protective fences, and therefore the shepherds had to maintain constant vigilance over their flocks to ensure that they did not stray from the secure assembly, and to guard them against external violence. Jesus compares himself to the shepherd when he states that through him humanity can "go in and come out." In other words members of his “flock” have the ability to come and go unmolested because as members of his group they were absolutely secure and safe. Then Jesus draws the contrast between the good and bad and the faithful and unfaithful shepherd. He describes himself as the good Shepherd who constantly watches over his sheep, knows them individually, and has patient love for each one of them. In contrast, the unfaithful shepherd comes to a job for the sake of making money. He has no sense of the nature of his sheep and does not learn the responsibilities involved in the shepherding task; he is a hireling. Then Jesus adds, "I have other sheep which are not of this fold. These too I must bring…" In other words, he constantly desires for everyone to enter into his loving and secure fold. He desires for the entire world to become part of his protected fold and to dwell with him as their shepherd. In the final portion of this passage Jesus informs everyone that he voluntarily laid down his life for them. He was not a helpless victim of his circumstances, but he loved us so much that he paid the full price so we could live forever with him in peace and security. Jesus not only created us in the beginning, but he also willfully paid the price for us after we had left him and had become imprisoned with sinfulness. There is no greater love than the love of the Good Shepherd.

- Terry Minter