Bible Reading: John 10:1-18
Shepherds have a special place in the Bible. David was a shepherd, shepherds saw the Nativity star and Christ takes on the role of shepherd in our reading for today!
Christ’s picture of the Good Shepherd evokes the image of a gentle Jesus carrying a lamb on His shoulders and holding a crook in the other. This image is that of a rescuer, who goes and finds that lost sheep and rescues it so it may rejoin the flock. But Christ’s words in John depict a different shepherd, here He depicts the leader of the flock.
This leader is the person who leads the flock to the best pastures, who watches out for predators and leads the sheep to their corral at night to rest without fear. The word pastor actually means shepherd in many languages, this is because the shepherd works in the pastures. The idea being that a pastor offers pastoral care, like a shepherd tending the sheep. Now this term has come to mean more than just pastoral care in the local church setting, we now have pastoral care at our schools and tertiary institutions, civil services, sports teams and even some office jobs have a pastoral care department. But these don’t compare with the pastoral care we see exemplified with Christ.
Christ went to the lost and He healed them and demonstrated God’s love for them. Pastors try and exhibit this same kind of pastoral care, and share this call with all others in the Christian community who would respond to Christ’s call for us to care for one another! We can see how this has come about, Christ’s image of the shepherd from John 10, but it also evokes the goal that pastors have in responding to God’s call – to be a leader, to seek God’s will, to lead people to Christ and Salvation and bring them into the fellowship of the church of Christ! Now, Christ takes this image even further –
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep”
No pastor or pastoral care worker can do what Christ has done for us, we cannot go and climb on the cross in vain hope that God would forgive our sins – we humans simply do not have that power, but we do have One who has already done the deed ‘once and for all’ (1 Peter 3:8) and only He can say ‘I AM’ the Good Shepherd.