Considering Jesus Challenge
Instead of setting New Year’s resolutions this year, I decided to switch my focus off myself and think about Jesus instead. We’re already a week into our Considering Jesus Challenge, and God has been actively speaking and providing lots of insight to those of you who are participating. You can jump in any time if you’d still like to join the journey. Here’s the blog entry that started this whole thing, and gives the bigger picture of what we’re trying to accomplish: https://donnatallman.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/ditching-new-years-resolutions/
I will try to update the blog each day so you can see how God is speaking, but if I’m not able to write an entry I will be sure to post a new verse for the next day. Keep sharing your insights with all of us in the comments’ section – it’s great to learn from one another!
Day 8, January 8, 2013, Tuesday
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me.” John 10:11-14
“I am the good shepherd,” Jesus said to those who were listening to him teach. It’s interesting that Jesus called himself “good” in light of the fact that on two other occasions in the New Testament (Mark 10:18 and Luke 18:19) he said that only God was good. By calling himself good, Jesus was subtly claiming to be God. So, it isn’t surprising that in John 10:19 the Jews got angry; they understood clearly what Jesus was claiming in this passage. He was claiming to be the “true” shepherd which, by default, implicates all others as being frauds. John 10:19 reveals the understanding the Jews had when it says, “A division occurred again among the Jews because of these words.”
Not only is Jesus good, he’s also sacrificial. The passage says the good shepherd will “lay down his life for his sheep.” This statement foreshadowed Christ’s crucifixion and also revealed his motivation. He didn’t lay down his life for a cause, a crusade, or to usurp Roman leadership; he laid it down because he loved his sheep.
The shepherd who oversees a flock owns the sheep; he’s totally vested in their welfare. The shepherd has given his time, energy, personal security, and resources to provide for the needs of the sheep. Even if he were to hire others to watch over the sheep in his absence, no one is as committed to his sheep as is he.
The shepherd is protective of his sheep. When danger threatens the life of his sheep, the shepherd instinctively puts himself in harm’s way to intervene. John 17:12 describes how Jesus defended the spiritual health and well-being of his disciples while he walked with them. It says, “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.”
A good shepherd knows his sheep. He is well acquainted with their physical traits, habits, character, quirks, etc. because he focuses intently on them at all times. His expert care breeds deep security throughout the flock and allows each sheep the freedom to live peacefully in the pasture he has provided.
Not only does Jesus know his sheep intimately, his sheep know him. One of the surprising things I saw this morning while meditating on this passage, is that the good shepherd allows himself to be known by his sheep. “I know My own and My own know Me.” Sometimes it is difficult for those in leadership positions to allow themselves to be known by others. It is especially difficult for those who have been hurt in the past by those they have been serving.
Is there risk in allowing others to know us?
Well, Judas betrayed Jesus.
Yes, there is risk, but Jesus was willing to endure the risk so that the intersection of his life with the disciples could produce all that God intended. Continuing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable in the face of past injury is a challenge, but it provides a window for others to see how the Good Shepherd shepherds us through our pain.
Considering Jesus Challenge Passage for Tomorrow January 9, 2013:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” Matthew 5:43-46
© Copyright, 2013 by Donna Tallman.