Focal Passage: John 10:7-16
Shepherding is an ancient occupation dating back several thousand years. Pastoral in nature, the shepherd’s primary responsibility was to keep the flock intact and protect them from predators. In Jesus’ day, tending to sheep was a viable occupation.
Although most farms utilized family members to take care of the sheep, there were opportunities to be paid to watch the flock.
The shepherd was very important. It is widely known that sheep require constant attention and have little means of defense. Their welfare depends solely on the care of the shepherd. Those who listened to Jesus describe Himself as the “Good Shepherd” (John 10:11) culturally understood the value of a shepherd who did his job well.
In most cases, people’s livelihood depended on the shepherd’s faithfulness and commitment to protect and care for the sheep. With that in mind, Jesus used the shepherd’s role as a metaphor to help those listening understand that He is the only way to God, and once we are saved He is there to guide us through life’s difficult terrain.
When our middle child (Mack) was around 15 months old, he was diagnosed with an arachnoid cyst in his brain. There were no guarantees it would remain dormant.
At that time, Mack’s speech and language development was delayed for his age. Now, some eight years later, he still battles with the same issues. My wife and I have frequent conversations about what is the best plan to help Mack succeed in life. What we have found to be the most helpful and important thing for us is to trust the Good Shepherd with our son. Not that we negate our responsibility to do private speech lessons or to help Mack every day, but in the process of our planning we yield our decisions to the One who knows what lies ahead. Christ knows the pitfalls and dangers of this world.
He knows which path leads to destruction and which leads to safety. Most importantly, we know Jesus loves us and will take care of us because He was willing to lay down His life for us.