Imitating the Great Shepherd
In John 10:11, Christ explains to the Pharisees and all those gathered around Him that he is the “Good Shepherd”, reminding them of David’s words in Psalms 23 that “The Lord is my shepherd.” To imitate Christ, the Great Shepherd, we need to understand a few of the characteristics or traits of that shepherd.
- The Door – (St. John 10:7) No one can enter the sheepfold (Church) except though Christ. Jesus likens himself to the shepherd that would stand or lie in the gate of the sheep pen and not allow anyone or anything to pass in that would harm the sheep. Also shows that Christ is the only true door (way in) to the Church. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to Father except by me. (John 14:6)
- Decisive/Certain - (St. John 3:5) Just as a shepherd must use a strong voice to lead his sheep, Jesus uses bold words to explain to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, the only way to see the kingdom of God is to be “born again.” Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish court. No doubt Nicodemus was good man morally, but Christ though did not say as many of us might “you’re a good man Nicodemus, I’m sure God is happy with you.” Christ’s decisive leadership points Nicodemus in the correct way as we see later as Nicodemus defends Christ before the chief priests and Pharisees in St. John 7:50 and in St. John 19:38,39 as Nicodemus along with Joseph of Arimathea care for the crucified body of Jesus.
- Defender and Protector – (St. John 10:11 & 3:16, 17) Christ, the Great Shepherd gave his life for his sheep. Just as a good shepherd defends his flock from harm with his life, Christ gave his life so that we could be saved.
- Provider – (St. John4:7-14) As a shepherd leads his flock to water to provide for their needs, Jesus the great shepherd is the source of “living water”, eternally life though Christ.
- Knows and Cares for his sheep – (St. John 4:29). The woman at the well proclaimed to all to come see the man that knows all about me. To be able to care for others we must first know their needs.
- Just and Fearless (Matthew 21:10-13) A good shepherd will protect his flock from evil that want to enter and not be afraid to drive evil away.
- Not Boastful (Modest) (Matthew 23) A Shepherd is not a “glamour” position.
- True and Righteous (Matthew 23). Does not do the job just for show.
- Committed (St. John 10:12) The Shepherd is always watchful of his sheep, not a “hired hand” that will run away when the going gets tough.
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