14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock, with one shepherd.
17 “This is why the Father loves me: I give up my life so that I can take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I give it up because I want to. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it up again. I received this commandment from my Father.”
If you’re a dog owner, have you ever taken your dog to the dog park? One time we took Misty and let her off leash. The dog park was crowded with people and dogs of every breed. She took off running, nose to the ground, enjoying her freedom. We decided to sit on a bench and watch her as she moved further away. Suddenly, she looked up and around, and ran up to several couples only to realize it wasn’t us. We called her name and she ran towards us looking relieved and happy. She came to us because she knew our voice.
Jesus is our good shepherd, he knows us and we know him. He is our Savior, our shelter, a place of love and healing. We learn to listen to his voice and follow his example. In this passage Jesus was telling the Pharisees that God sent him not only to the Jews, but to “other sheep,” the Gentiles. God’s Plan is to redeem the whole world in all its brokenness and create one flock, with Jesus as our shepherd. This story Jesus is telling us is about more than a brave Shepherd and fuzzy sheep. Jesus is telling us that he is going to sacrifice his life for us, for the world, for his one flock. Jesus will die so that he can be resurrected by God, redeem us, and bring us into eternal life. No matter what is going on in the world or your life, Jesus your Good Shepherd has redeemed you.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
During this season of Lent, take time to reflect on the truth that Jesus died for you and redeemed you. Listen for the voice of your Good Shepherd. What are you being called to give up, or to take on this Lent?
Prayer: Good Shepherd Jesus, I confess I do not always listen for your voice. Help me to listen for your voice and to do your will. Thank you for dying on the cross and redeeming me from my brokenness and sin. Amen.