The Good Shepherd
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep." (John 10:11 NLT)
The Good Shepherd, who willingly sacrifices His life for the sheep, is a well known name and characterization of Christ. Sheep are a great example of the least of these, with no way to defend themselves. They require someone to look after them. Their shepherd goes out in front of them, leading them and they follow him, listening to his voice.
Jesus referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd because He protects His sheep (us) from the evil one. In fact, a shepherd in Jesus' day, would literally lie down and became a gate between the sheep and any animals or people looking to harm the sheep. As He described Himself in John 10 and seen in His life on earth, the difference between our Good Shepherd and every other religion, belief, great person or cause is that He laid down His life for us...and He took it up again.
"There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:13 NLT)
This past week, we were fortunate to have a friend from Haiti visit. Pastor Vincent leads a network of 300 pastors who have been called to minister to the 800,000 people in and around Cite Soliel. Cite Soliel is one of the poorest, largest and roughest slums in the world. In addition, he heads up a church, a school and a feeding program that feeds 1500 kids every day. As I thought about Pastor Vincent and our Good Shepherd, I noticed several similarities.
He has laid down his life, serving these people, walking in front of them as he follows Jesus and in a very scary place, they know Pastor Vincent's voice and follow him. His school and church property are this safe place right in the middle of one of the dangerous places in the world. I can only imagine how safe those kids feel in his school, behind the walls, being fed and loved. He is a great example of the Good Shepherd. As I spent time with Pastor Vincent, thinking about his life and ministry, I am inspired to live a life like his, as he follows the example of our Good Shepherd. I hope that remembering Jesus as the Good Shepherd reminds you how much Jesus loves you and watches over you. And I hope it inspires you, like it does me, to live a life for others, like my friend Pastor Vincent does.
"Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Christ did." (1 John 2:6 NLT)