The Good Shepherd

Ben Van Arragon

Read: John 10:11-18

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (v. 11)

I used to work for a farmer. I worked long hours—often from sunrise to sunset. The work demanded my time, sweat, and (sometimes) blood. However, at the end of the day I left the work behind and went home. I gave little thought to the cost of breakdowns or bad crops. My boss, on the other hand, was already working when I arrived in the morning and continued when I went home. He absorbed every expense and felt every setback. For me, the farm was a job. For him, it was his life.

When Jesus called himself “the good shepherd,” he contrasted himself to the humans who preceded him as leaders of God’s people. The biggest difference Jesus in essence identified was this: “For them, it’s a job. For me, it’s my life.” The Good Shepherd’s defining characteristic was giving up his life for the sheep. What greater comfort can we find than in these words of Jesus? We have a Shepherd who never abandons us to our trouble but faces our dangers and sacrifices his life in our place.

After giving up his life on the cross, Jesus took it up again at his resurrection. He not only has led us “through the valley of the shadow of death,” but into the safe pasture of his eternal life. We are all sheep in need of a shepherd. Settle for none other than the Good Shepherd. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, thank the Good Shepherd for the life he offers at the cost of his own.