The Gentle Shepherd
April 24, 2012 § 2 Comments
Jesus as the gentle shepherd is one of the earliest images found of Jesus. It is probably fair to say that most of us do not have any experience with shepherds and their sheep. But when Jesus uses this imagery in John 10:11-18, he was speaking to people who had everyday experience with this. And their experience with sheep involved more than just animals who are good for nourishment. Sheep were essential for important religious rituals too (for example, in preparation for the Passover meal – Exodus 12:3). The first hearers of John’s message knew what an important and dangerous job it was to be the shepherd of a flock of sheep. For Jesus to be the Good Shepherd means that He cares and protects us, and also searching for us when we get lost. These are comforting images about Someone who is willing to lay down his life for us. It is comforting to know that He is risen and alive today in your life and mine, and that we do not go through this day all by ourselves, but that He is there to guide us and protect us.