20210422 Spotlight Devotion for 29 April
Why is Jesus ‘The Good Shepherd’?
This edition of ‘Spotlight’ features one of several schools and congregations across our District that are named after Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Traditionally, the fourth Sunday of Easter is known as ‘Good Shepherd Sunday,’ featuring readings from ‘the Good Shepherd Chapter’ of Scripture, John 10.
When Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd” (v.11), what is he saying to us?” John 10:11-18 gives us Jesus’ answer to that question.
- Jesus is the Good shepherd because he ‘loves his people to death’ – literally.
Jesus said, “The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (v.11). He is ‘Good’ because he is totally committed to us, so committed that he is prepared to make the supreme sacrifice for us – and he did!
- Jesus is the Good Shepherd because he owns us as his very own.
He purchased and won us with his own precious blood, shed on the cross for us. He reminds us that he is not like the “hired hand” who, “when he sees the wolf coming, abandons the sheep and runs away.” (v.12-13). Jesus does not just care for us because it is his job to do so. Our welfare is his first priority because we belong to him.
- Jesus is the Good Shepherd because our relationship with him is important.
Jesus said, “I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father “ (v.14-15). We are not just statistics in a book or faces in a crowd. He knows each of us by name; He knows all about us, and he wants to be known personally by us. He came and personally shared our nature and our struggles when he lived as a human being and when he laid down his life for us. He wants us to know that he is a Good Shepherd who we can trust completely and that he is available for us to call on him at any time. He wants our relationship with him to be like his own relationship with God the Father.
- Jesus is the Good Shepherd because he never ‘writes people off’.
No matter how far people stray from his fold he still regards them as his sheep. Jesus said, “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice.” It is his earnest desire and prayer that “there shall be one flock and one shepherd” (v.16). In the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus reminds us that it is in his shepherd-heart to “leave the 99” for a while to go and search “for the one which is lost.”
- Jesus is the Good Shepherd because he honours his heavenly Father.
Throughout his earthly ministry Jesus made it plain that he was not following his own wishes but was completely obedient to the Father’s will and command. He tells us in this text that the authority to “lay down his life” and “to take it up again” comes from his heavenly Father. His “authority” to shepherd the people of God also comes from the “Father” (v.17, 18). He is perfectly obedient to – and gains his authority from – God the Father himself.
Being the good leader that he is, Jesus does not only say why he is The Good Shepherd; he also demonstrates it. As we read through the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we see him modelling the shepherding role among his disciples. We see him praying for them, making himself available to them in time of need, cultivating a relationship with them through daily contact, listening to them, comforting them, calling them back when they strayed, and finally, giving his own life for them on the cross and being raised again to bring them the assurance of forgiveness, new life and eternal salvation.
Jesus is our ‘Good Shepherd’ because he has done – and still does – the same for us!
Pastor Lester Priebbenow
District Bishop, Victoria and Tasmania