By Kathleen Bordo Crombie

Lamb of God is the Good Shepherd

 

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. ~ John 10:11

It’s true what we’ve been taught about reading familiar scripture passages over and over, and one day something pops out at you. This time, for me, it’s the word “shepherd.” Like many others, I thought all those working with a flock of sheep to be shepherds. To my surprise, I finally heard something particular about this passage: only one shepherd to a flock!

Leading from the Front

The shepherd is not a sheepherder. He is committed to the sheep because they belong to him; he leads from the front, and the flock follows the shepherd because they know his voice and trust him. When the sheep are most vulnerable to an attack from predators, the shepherd moves the flock to a sheltered area and places himself between the sheep and danger to protect them, even if it means death for the shepherd.

Working from Behind

The others, sheepherders, work for the shepherd; they drive the flock from the rear. At first sight of danger, the sheepherder often protects only himself from danger. His work with the sheep is just a job, a paycheck, and not worth his injury or death. 

The Flock

Sheep are intelligent, social animals. They experience emotions from fear to anger and happiness. They are gentle, quiet, and loyal to the shepherd, but they can become disoriented and open to danger without the shepherd’s guidance; they need to be led and protected from predators and other hazards. 

The Good Shepherd

We are the sheep! Jesus is the Good Shepherd! As his flock, we know his voice and feel safe under his leadership and protection. Together, we follow the Good Shepherd and also believe that he is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, the sacrificial lamb who chose to die on the cross for our redemption. 

Obedient to the Father who loves and sent him, Jesus protects us and ultimately lays down his life for us. He voluntarily responded to the Father’s command. No one makes Jesus lay down his life; he lays it down on his own and has the power to take it up again. 

In the end, the Father has commanded that Jesus must also bring along those outside the flock so there will be one flock and one shepherd. Not an easy command, but the voice of the Good Shepherd must be heard.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who leads us daily towards eternal life. You are also the Lamb of God who sacrificed yourself on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Realizing we have done nothing to deserve your love and mercy, we are forever grateful.

Call to Action

In my day-to-day encounters, how can I help others hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow him?

 

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