“I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father.”
Can you imagine a shepherd who would literally die for the sake of his sheep? What about an infinitely perfect, all-powerful God Who would die for the sake of small, sinful human beings?
In comparison to God, we are infinitely smaller and weaker, insignificant little lambs wandering lost at pasture. And yet He loved us so much that He laid down His life for us. He is God, the perfection of all truth, beauty, and goodness; He doesn’t need us, and yet He chooses us anyway. When He faced the agony of the Cross, Jesus could have turned away—but He pictured your face, and He couldn’t bear the thought of eternity without you, little, insignificant lamb that you are.
What earthly shepherd could make so great a sacrifice, to die rather than lose his sheep? Our Lord has proven Himself to be trustworthy, the ultimate Good Shepherd, and we can rest in Him, knowing that He will always protect us. When we stray, He chases after us; He patiently follows wherever we go and gently leads us back home. Let us listen for His voice in our lives and let Him guide our steps, for He will never abandon us.
Image: Charles-Émile Jacque, Evaning / PD-US