The Good Shepherd
"I am the good shepherd." - John 10:11
If you have ever owned a pet, you know the bond that can form between an animal and its caretaker. For example, if you have a dog, you provide it with food and shelter, discipline, and belly rubs. And, in return, the dog forms a strong bond with you because you are giving it a sense of belonging and safety.
In John 10, Jesus identifies himself as the good shepherd—someone who takes care of a flock of sheep. You and I might not love the idea of being compared to sheep, because they are not very bright animals. But there's a lot of power in this picture of Jesus as our shepherd.
A shepherd in those days was both a leader and a caretaker. Sometimes the shepherd provided comfort to the animals when they were scared or injured, going as far as carrying them back to the flock when they had wandered off. Other times the shepherd had to correct and guide the sheep to get them where they needed to go. A good shepherd acted with the sheep's best interest in mind.
What a great way to think about Jesus and what he does for us! He is much more than a teacher. He is our Master and Lord. His voice leads us on the path of life. His hand provides for our needs. His discipline keeps us out of harm's way. His love and care give us the best life possible.
Lord Jesus, you are my good shepherd. Help me to know I belong to you, and help me to trust your voice wherever you lead me. Amen.