The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 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 does not own 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 cares nothing 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. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.John 10:10-16
We’ve all heard the word ‘sheep’ used as an insult: someone who is easily led or deceived. Sheep by their very nature need a shepherd’s protection. In John chapter 10, Jesus describes the many ways we are like sheep and how he acts as our shepherd: we have a great many reasons to praise him.
Our God is the one who sustains us and cares for us all equally; we are precious to him and he knows us completely. Even though we are easily led astray, he has brought us together as his disciples to know and support each other and to worship together in his presence. We can look to the Lord for comfort, support, and endless love. To be a sheep is certainly no bad thing when we are under God’s care.
Best of all, Jesus Christ our saviour has made the ultimate sacrifice for us in giving up himself for us, a decision as surprising as a shepherd allowing himself to die in place of his sheep. God has saved us and made us into one flock, known by Christ. Let’s join together in that spirit this Christmas, and rejoice in the love and care of our Shepherd.