Christ the Shepherd
“I am the good shepherd.”
There was a pretty sight in the marketplace this morning – a procession of shepherds in from the desert led off by ten or twelve little lads carrying the lambs in their arms. And the Lord with His Shepherd Heart will not set the souls down in a road too hard for them to follow – even if we under shepherds make mistakes. How the Good Shepherd follows the trail in all His endless patience. Even the torn wool on the briars helps Him on His way! (4 March 1917)
Scripture: John 10:14-18
- What are the characteristics of a “good shepherd”?
- In what ways does Christ compare Himself to a “good shepherd”?
- What does Christ mean when He said, “I lay down my life – only to take it up again”?
Meditation on Scripture
We jump ahead in the Advent narrative to Jesus’ own words concerning His identity: “I am the good shepherd” – and to His mission: “I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Once again, a cryptic message was delivered in startlingly clear metaphor. The shepherd’s relationship to his flock was common knowledge: he fed them, tended them, knew them by name – and if one of the many strayed, he sought it even to the risk of his own life.
Yet as so often was the case in God’s progressive revelation, there was an additional unexpected message. A message easily missed, but for those with ears to hear, a message so distinct and disturbing in its uniqueness, one could not dispel it from the mind: “I lay down my life – only to take it up again!”
What wonderful assurance and comfort Christ’s words must have brought to those people acquainted with the testimony of Christ’s ancestor, David – the shepherd and psalmist.
A Psalm of David
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
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