One of Jesus’s names is the Good Shepherd. Throughout the Bible, we find glimpses of what this means, and in John 10:11, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” I’ve heard teachers illustrate what Jesus does for us by explaining how shepherds care for their sheep by feeding them and making sure they don’t get carried away by a raging river. That’s all true, yet there’s another aspect of being a shepherd that we sometimes forget. We don’t often think of a shepherd as a courageous hero.
Think about sheep for a second. They do dumb stuff. And predators, like lions and bears, think sheep are a great snack. Whenever they get the chance, they snatch an unsuspecting sheep and trot off to enjoy their food. What does the shepherd do? Watch the bleating animal being carried away and think, “How sad. But at least I won’t have to deal with that pest anymore”? No. He grabs whatever weapons are available and takes off to take care of business. He kills that predator and takes the sheep home. He tends to their wounds and places them back with the flock, away from danger.
In the same way our Good Shepherd looks after us. He first rescued us from sin by coming to sacrifice His life on the cross and then rise from the dead. In doing so, He defeated Satan and the grave once and for all. And now, He continually protects His people, because even when we’re Christians we still mess up—we sin, we make mistakes, and we get into trouble. When our circumstances and our own failures seem to carry us away and eat us, Jesus breaks in. He shows us the foes are beatable, because He is with us and He is Lord over all.
The Good Shepherd is there whenever we call for Him. And when the world, its obligations, and all kinds of trials batter us around, He’s always there to care for us. • Morgan Mitchell
• Jesus rescues us from sin and death, but He doesn’t stop there. He continues to rescue and care for us as we go through the struggles of this life. And when He returns to restore creation and right every wrong, we will live with Him forever, free from dangers and difficulties. How might picturing Jesus as the courageous Hero-Shepherd, and ourselves as helpless sheep, make it easier for us to call on Jesus when we’re in trouble? Why is crying out to Jesus better than trying to figure things out on our own?
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.” Ezekiel 34:11 (NIV)