“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
I have a question. And I hope it doesn’t seem too crude. If you owned sheep—or any livestock for that matter—would you die to protect them? Maybe you would. Maybe any “good rancher” would. But would you?
This concept of a shepherd giving up his life for some sheep—even if he DOES own them—seems a little extreme to me.
Isn’t the hired hand the one who does the logical thing? For the hired hand, his own life is far more valuable to him than the lives of a hundred sheep! I can’t speak for you. But I can relate to the hired hand much easier than I can relate to the Good Shepherd. I can’t think of any situation where I’d be willing to die to save a sheep.
But you know what? The more I think about it—the more I wrestle with it—I think that’s the point. The sheep AREN’T as valuable as the shepherd. You and I AREN’T as valuable as the infinite Creator of the world.
And yet, the infinite Creator of the world DID lay down his life for the sheep. He did that to save YOU.
Looking forward to digging into this awesome portion of God’s Word with you this weekend,