Thursday 21 April 2022

Bible Book:

'I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.' (v. 11)

John 10:11-18 Thursday 21 April 2022

Psalm 8


John, the writer of this Gospel,  is believed to be the disciple Jesus loved. John's purpose in writing his Gospel is that people might believe Jesus was the son of God and find life in him. There are seven descriptions  in John’s writings where Jesus is talking of himself that begin with "I am". The reading today begins with Jesus saying “I am the good shepherd” and there is a long discourse before and after regarding the imagery and meaning of Jesus as a good shepherd.

Throughout the Bible images of a loving shepherd are used as a metaphor for God – guiding, providing and caring for the nation of Israel throughout history. They had leaders to shepherd over them who often failed them. God promised to raise up a new shepherd who would be the good shepherd. Jesus is saying he is this good shepherd, prefixing the words "I am" (which is a name God gives to Moses, “I am who I am”, Exodus 3:14). Jesus is saying I am!  I am the good shepherd that God promised to send. Jesus is the shepherd who knows his sheep, taking good care of them, protecting and seeking out those who are lost. He lays down his life for his sheep. Not only does he know them, they know him – they recognise his voice and will not follow a stranger. 

Shepherds have always had a special place in the biblical narrative. It was to shepherds near Bethlehem watching their flocks, that God first announced the good news the birth of his son, the Saviour who had been born for all people. Here in Israel/Palestine, it is common to see shepherds herding their sheep and goats. They are not only seen in the desert and on the hillsides, but also wandering through traffic in towns, villages, and even through Bethlehem. The shepherd's life is with the sheep. If a shepherd were to meet with other shepherds at watering wells, once they leave, the sheep will know the voice of their particular shepherd and follow him. Jesus says his sheep listen to his voice, he knows them and they know him.  I’ve watched sheep precariously meandering along steep cliffs and wonder if they realise the danger they seem to be in, then watch in awe as the shepherd guides them back on the right path by his voice. 


To Ponder:

    • What stood out to you in the reading of the passage?
    • Can you think of an experience of where Jesus has been the good shepherd for you?


Lord, you are the good shepherd, who not only knows how to take good care of your sheep, but you go looking for the lost ones. You bring them and us home safely with you. You know and call each one of us by name.  Thank you for the times you have carried us and we weren’t even aware. We thank you that you guide us on our journey with you, leading us along safe paths, besides still waters and green pastures, restoring, feeding, and strengthening us to continue our journey. Amen.

Shepherd boy in Bethlehem. Image: Angleena Keizer

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