THURSDAY, December 6
The Bible presents Jesus through the image of a Shepherd. In John 10:11, Jesus said Himself, “I am the good shepherd.” Why is the image necessary for understanding Jesus, and how is this a significant Christmas theme?
Consider all that Jesus represents as the Good Shepherd. When Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd,” two seemingly small and insignificant words become paramount: “the” shepherd, and the “good” shepherd.
What makes Jesus more than a shepherd, but actually “the” shepherd? Jesus came to shepherd God’s people. As “the” shepherd, He came opposed to a hireling. A hireling was a hired hand who cared more about the position than the sheep. Jesus called the Pharisees (the religious leaders of His day) hirelings, for they wanted notoriety in their position, but did not care for the people under their leadership. Jesus came to truly shepherd our lives. He is “the” shepherd.
He is also the “good” shepherd. Jesus called Himself “the door” to contrast the leadership of the Pharisees. As the door (to the sheep fold), the good shepherd cares for the sheep and watches over their movement in and out to find pasture. As the door, the good shepherd keeps away animals who might snatch or attack the sheep. The hireling runs away when the first sight of danger appears; the good shepherd lays himself down as the door to bring the sheep into safety and to protect the sheep from the attacks of wolves. Jesus is the good shepherd because in his infinite goodness He laid His life down for us once and for all on the cross. Because of this, He defeated sin and hell. Because of this, we have salvation. In 1 Peter 2:25, Jesus is called the overseer, or shepherd, of our souls. He is our good shepherd. There is no other.
Take great comfort in this truth. Take great comfort in the fact that the night Jesus was born, God became our shepherd like never before. Jesus brought to human reality such truths as Psalm 23, “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” This is reality: through Jesus, God shepherds our lives. We have safe pasture; we have our needs met. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
This Christmas Season, find your way to the manger; bow before our Savior who came to Shepherd us. He came to shepherd us because He came to be our SAVIOR. Our Savior!
Read: Psalm 23; John 10:1-14