I Am the Good Shepherd
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)
When performed correctly, shepherding is a noble, sacrificial, and often exhausting task. But there were many shepherds in biblical times who didn’t quite grasp their mission. They were noticeably unfaithful.
When Reuel’s daughters tried to water their flock in Exodus 2, selfish shepherds drove them away from the well, seeking to care for their own flocks unjustly at others’ expense. Moses interceded triumphantly on the sisters’ behalf.
In Ezekiel 34, God condemned shepherds for feeding themselves while neglecting their flocks. “You eat the fat, wear the wool, and butcher the fattened animals, but you do not tend the flock.” (34:4) They didn’t strengthen the weak, heal the sick, or bandage wounds. Evil shepherds did not search for lost sheep, which would have been one of their key duties. Such shepherds loved themselves more than they loved the flocks that needed their guidance, and they had no interest in justice or compassion.
God promised to intervene. Just at the appointed time, Jesus came. Jesus, that good shepherd of the sheep, came to find the lost sheep and “rescue them from all the places where they had been scattered on a day of clouds and total darkness” (Ezekiel 34:12).
Jesus, our good shepherd, finds us when and where we are lost in various places, and bandages us where we are battered and torn. He strengthens us when we are weak, and loves and guides us with grace and mercy. At one of the lowest times in my own life, Jesus rocked me in the cradle of His arms.
Jesus, our good shepherd, so loves, guides, and cares for us that He endured an old, rugged cross, despised the shame, and stretched out His arms to guide us home to the sheepfold.
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd.” This Easter, follow Him to the sheepfold. Bow down and worship Him.
Diana Chandler is a Nashville First deacon and senior writer for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention news service.