“I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11). This is Jesus writing His own job description. This is Jesus, describing Himself, His track record, His references, His successes, and His strengths. This is the kind of Shepherd I will be. This is who I am, what I do, and this is the standard to which I promise to do it.
A Bible-day shepherd had a three-fold job. Three very important tasks to keep the sheep happy, healthy, and on their way home. And if the shepherd failed at any one, he was a bad shepherd, and his sheep were dead meat. The shepherd was supposed to lead the sheep, which meant he had to know the trails, the pitfalls, the places to find the best quiet waters and where to find the best grass. The shepherd was supposed to protect the sheep, to stand between the sheep and danger with enough skill and care to ward off anything that came their way. And the shepherd was supposed to provide for the sheep. If he led them to a pasture devoid of grass or a desert lacking in water, the sheep would starve, die of thirst, be easy pickings for the wolves, and the shepherd will have failed.
But when Jesus lists His job qualifications, He only lists the one. “I am the good shepherd. I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:11). This is the final word in any job interview, the thing He begins with, ends with, and what sets Him apart from all other shepherds. This is the reason I should follow Him, trust Him, rest easy with Him as my guide.
He laid down His life for me. By extension, what length wouldn’t He go to? What distance wouldn’t He travel to bring me home? As long as Jesus is my Shepherd, I can say with David: I want for nothing (Psalm 23:1).
Excerpt from “Peace and How to Keep It.”