I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. . .I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. . . they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from My Father. John 10:11-18 NRSV
Reading this passage in John, we learn about the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep, about thieves and flocks in need. Jesus says I AM the good shepherd. He knows His sheep; His sheep know Him, know His voice. Jesus is the good shepherd who protects and provides for His flock. Unlike the thieves who are unreliable, Jesus even lays down His life for His sheep. He will never abandon them.
The metaphors of sheep and shepherd help us understand our relationship with Jesus. As His sheep we are totally dependent upon His care, His guidance. He is our security. Jesus voluntarily chooses us as His sheep then gives His life for us. Jesus says I AM the good shepherd. This Divine Love exceeds our capacity to understand. As we journey through Lent, it is the sacrifice of such Divine Love that overwhelms the soul. For me, for this sheep, I know Jesus lay down His life and took it up again. New Life comes to me because of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Good Shepherd, I need you in every way. Your leading is the path I choose. My praise for such Divine Love shouts wordless Hallelujahs! - dho