[Jesus said] “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
Your Good Shepherd
The Bible often compares people to sheep. Maybe that sounds like a compliment. After all, sheep are soft and gentle. They don’t hurt anything and seem pretty innocent.
But sheep are also pretty helpless. And sheep aren’t very smart. If someone compares you to a sheep today, they probably mean that you don’t think much for yourself but follow others blindly. That’s what sheep do, even if they are following right into danger or death. They have little or no ability to defend themselves from predators. They get lost easily. They need a shepherd to provide for them and defend and lead them. The people in Bible times would have understood the comparison well.
As unflattering as it sounds, you and I are aptly described as sheep. We are spiritually vulnerable and helpless. On our own, we’re unable to defend ourselves against the attacks of the devil, who attacks us like a wolf attacks a flock of sheep. We are easy targets.
At the same time, we aren’t just helpless victims. Too often, we choose to wander and get hopelessly lost. The Bible says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way.”
And Jesus, our Shepherd, knows how much you and I are like sheep. He sees those wandering thoughts of anger or lust that we may just ignore as normal. He knows about the selfish motives that taint some of our kindest actions. He knows when our hearts covet worldly things, even if we never act on those desires.
But Jesus, the Good Shepherd, doesn’t leave his wandering sheep. He shows us his tender mercy by caring for every need of our bodies and our souls. He picks us up and carries us through the dangers of life. And he doesn’t abandon us when things get dangerous. He sees the devil coming, and he defends us. He would rather die for us than see us die in our sins. And that’s exactly what he did!
Your Good Shepherd won’t run away when life is dark and difficult. He stays with you through it all. You can count on it!
Jesus, thank you for rescuing me when I go astray. Never leave my side. Amen.