John 10, 7-13
Something to read
So again Jesus said to them, 'Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 'I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep.
New Revised Standard version
Something to think about
Here we find another 'I am' saying of Jesus. 'I am the good shepherd' and 'I am the gate/door…'
Jesus is the gate for his sheep to enter in. We have an invitation to enter through these gates to discover the way and the truth and the life (John 14: 6-7).
Jesus being the gate shows us that if we enter in, if we come to him seeking to live in and through him, we can have eternal life through his death on a cross for us, as he says that he came so that we may have life abundantly.
Jesus is the good and only true shepherd and was willing to give his life for his sheep, unlike false shepherds and teachers of the law, those who lead his people astray. Jesus' concern is his sheep - us, that is why he died for us. He wants what is best for us and each individual person is so important to Him, because Jesus is interested in you.
Whatever work we do, whatever we go through in life, Jesus, the good shepherd, does not leave us. He does not run away from us. Rather he is with us in times of trouble, when we feel scared, lonely, fragile and deserted. He shares in our joy as well. He always gathers his sheep and tends to our needs. The pasture in this passage is his love, and it is abundant, fulfilling all of our needs.
We have a promise in this passage and it is repeated in Hebrews 13:5: '… I will never leave you or forsake you.'
Something to do
I encourage you to find a spiritual partner, one who you can trust and turn to and hold each other accountable spiritually. Pray together and then realise how much more Jesus is with you.
Something to pray
Lord God our shepherd, we can only thank and praise you for loving us, for providing for us and for dying and rising so that we may have new life in you. As sheep we sometimes go astray, but thank you for never letting us go off on our own, that you have always been with us and bring us back to your green pasture of love. Amen.
Today's contributor is Richard Stein, minister of Bexhill United Reformed Church.