It’s Spring time in Oregon. The grass is a vibrant, glossy green. Daffodils are bursting through the earth with intense yellowy colors.
As I was driving along country roads the other day, I noticed the life stirring. The sheep were out to pasture, and the newly birthed lambs were frolicking near their mothers. Everything appears fresh and new.
Seeing the flock of sheep reminded me of John 10, where Jesus refers to himself as the good shepherd.
In John 10, verse 11, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
I realize that becoming a shepherd in today’s age is not a relevant career choice. We have farmers, yes, but shepherds in Biblical times were noble and necessary, especially when someone’s net worth came from livestock and land ownership. Why does Jesus refer to himself as a shepherd?
Good shepherds protect, guide, and save their flock of sheep.
Good shepherds go to great lengths to protect their flock of sheep. They watch over their animals with care, and are always looking beyond their flock for enemies at bay.
When Jesus says he is the good shepherd, he means he will protect us. He watches over us with care, and has the foresight and foreknowledge to look for predators who will come along our way.
Good shepherds guide their flock of sheep. Sheep are not the most intelligent animals. They are not capable of picking out the best pasture for nourishment. They need a good shepherd to guide them gently to land that flourishes, where they can drink clean, refreshing water, and eat nutrient-rich grass. Sheep lack the ability to find adequate pasture on their own, and without the shepherd, they would lose their way.
When Jesus says he is the good shepherd, he means he will guide us. He sets out our path, and he leads us home again. Without Jesus, we will lose our ability to find our way. With Jesus, we are led not only to survive but to flourishing places.
Good shepherds save their flock of sheep. Sheep inevitably lose their way. They venture out on their own accord, and all sense of direction is lost. Without the shepherd, sheep will starve, face attack by wolves or other forms of predators. Sheep that lose their way are likely to die.
When Jesus says he is the good shepherd, he means he will save us. He will leave the flock of sheep to search for the one who has trekked off on his own. He will not stop until the lost is found, and reunited with the flock. Jesus pursues his lost members. He never gives up on those who have veered from his plans, but tenderly, and gently, invites them back into communion with him.
This month’s free print shares John 10:11. When you print it out, remember that when Jesus says he is the good shepherd, he is always protecting, guiding, and saving us.
Click here to download your free print.
Sarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globetrotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5K races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah on her blog or on Instagram.