‘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. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.’ (vv11–12) John 10: 11 – 21

Jesus identifies Himself as a shepherd. His responsibility is to care for His flock, and humanity is that flock. The skill of every shepherd is to ensure sufficient grazing for the whole flock, from the youngest to the oldest. There is no discrimination based on age. Whilst the flock travels as a group, the shepherd must be vigilant to identify any individual sheep who may be struggling through injury or illness. In like manner, God cares for us as His family as well as for each one of us individually.

Living in the open, travelling many miles in seeking nourishment, the flock is at risk night and day. With no natural defence save from crowding together, every sheep relies upon the shepherd for their protection. Being vulnerable, and tasty, there is no shortage of predators who wait for an opportunity to steal away a member of the flock.

This appears to be such a simple message and it is. For we, the sheep who have gone astray, are gathered together by the great shepherd, Jesus Himself (Psa. 79:13). He walks with us as we pursue our lives, wandering wherever we choose. When we find ourselves isolated and lonely, fighting our personal battles, the good shepherd will find us, retrieve us and restore us to the flock where we belong.

RELATED SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Isa. 53; Psa. 100; 119:169–176; Matt. 25:31–46.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: Invite Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep (Heb. 13:20–21), to keep you in the flock of His choosing and respond to His gentle leading in good times and bad.

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, ‘I trust You to show me the way I pray, dear Lord, don’t let me stray. Help me to see my path You chose.’ Amen.’

Photography by Praveen on Pixahive

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.