Out loud, pray for God to speak to you through your reading. Praise God for giving us His word. Ask the Spirit to help you read with faith, and to live out what you hear from God through the passage.
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The Shepherd and His Flock
by Pr. Dave Mann
This passage is full of images that convey warmth and affection for us from the Lord, especially in times of fear.
I am the door.
The shepherd in those days who was with his grazing sheep could build a circular rock wall within which he could protect his sheep during the night. After the sheep would enter the enclosure through the open doorway, the shepherd would sit in the doorway, his own body function as the door. Anyone or predator wishing to go in had to negotiate passage with the shepherd. Aren’t you glad that Jesus is the one who guards your comings and goings?
I am the good shepherd.
If you were an owner of a flock, you knew that hiring others to tend your sheep was risky business. Watching over a flock of sheep out in the wilderness, one could encounter numerous dangers. Too often the hired hands would flee at the first sight of potential harm. The owner, on the other hand, would not flee. He would risk his own life to preserve the flock. Aren’t you glad that Jesus, our Owner, chose to risk danger to rescue and protect you?
I have other sheep.
It is all too easy for humans to create in-groups and out-groups. This is true of all social situations – in school, in business, in neighborhoods, even in religions. Jesus, on the other hand, often let his followers know that to be one of his followers meant that He was always looking for new people to include in His kingdom. Aren’t you glad that He chose to include you and others?
I lay down my life that I may take it up again.
I wonder what the disciples were thinking when they heard Jesus make this statement. There is a possible true figurative interpretation of this radical statement. On a daily basis, Jesus was indeed laying aside his prerogatives as the Son of God so that he could live the life of a human being. Jesus was unselfish in all that he did. But in the end, he literally (not figuratively) gave up his life and rose again. He did this for the eternal salvation of all who would believe in Him. Aren’t you glad that Jesus is a literal Savior, both now and forever?
Especially in times of fear, Jesus is our door, and our good shepherd. He trains us to look for other sheep with Him and He lays down His life in order to take it up again.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your shepherd’s heart that comforts us and protects us. I am eternally grateful for what you did and for what you continue to do for me. Amen.