Passover and Resurrection (3): The Good Shepherd
John 10:11–18 - “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 10:12 “He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them...10:17 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.”
As the Good Shepherd, Jesus bravely loved us. He did not fear men, He pleased His Father. He was not afraid to fight wolves. Unlike hirelings, He would risk His life for the sheep. The righteous character of Jesus empowered Him to lay down His life of His own accord and take it up again. Jesus did this for us. In trusting Him we see how to become more like Him. Many struggle with the insecurities which manifest in fearing others and lusting for their approval. These insecurities entrap us with behaviors which make us the prey of others, rather than to pray for others (Prov. 29:25). Another way these insecurities plague us is through self-absorption, selfishness, self-pity, or self-loathing (rather than a biblical estimation of ourselves in Christ). These “selfisms” paralyze us from fulfilling our purpose. Jesus accepts us and so no other approval is needed. Let us be like Him who was courageous not selfish.
As the Good Shepherd, Jesus sacrificed Himself for us. Because He did not fear others and was not selfish, He was able to fulfill His purpose as the Good Shepherd. This included both His life-ministry and His death-ministry. In His life and death He was a leader. True leadership is shepherd-like and true shepherding requires living without fear and dying to self for the care of others. Through His unique sacrificial death, Jesus did what we could not do in providing for the sheep. On this basis, we should see how to live. Many have a self-importance syndrome, seeing nothing and no one valuable enough for which to make a personal sacrifice, much less slay ourselves. To such a person, his priorities, purposes, and pursuits are vastly superior to others. This prideful character manifests, not in seeking others’ approval, but in seeking self-satisfaction, controlling, manipulation, self-importance, false authority, harsh judgments of others - yet justifying personal sinfulness. This is trusting man rather than God, namely trusting the man named “self.” Always judging, always criticizing, always finding fault with others; rarely complimenting, rarely being silent towards others with whom you disagree, rarely supporting others instead of tearing them down - these are the behaviors of those who believe they are a qualitatively different kind of person than others. But Jesus was, in fact, perfect and actually the most important person in the world. You are not. But He could completely humble Himself and take the full force of injustice. Repent!