Words from the Heart for Monday April 3rd, 2017
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.
John 10:11 (NLT)
The Good Shepherd
As Jesus was teaching the crowds He used the illustration that He was a “good” shepherd. Those who were listening that day had likely seen shepherds taking care of their sheep. They knew there were good shepherds and others that were careless and just in it for the wages. But, how many really understood the part of His words that said He would “sacrifice his life for the sheep?’ They would understand when He gave his life on the cross. What a wonderful shepherd He is!
Most countries’ military have a badge or medal that is given to those members who were wounded in action. No doubt the best known of these sacrifice awards is the Purple Heart that is given to members of the US Armed Services. But other countries have similar sacrifice awards. Since 1916, soldiers of the British Empire injured in combat received the Wound Stripe, a brass bar that was worn on the left forearm. Since 2008, Canadian soldiers and even civilian government employees suffering bodily harm in action receive the Sacrifice Medal. In World War II, Soviet troops were awarded a red stripe that would be sewn above the right breast pocket on a uniform. Imperial German soldiers injured in the line of duty during the First World War could expect to receive a Wound Badge.
When was the last time you sacrificed yourself for someone? Most of you are probably thinking at this point, “I don’t remember ever sacrificing myself for anyone. But you have. When you gave of your time to help out your neighbour, you sacrificed your time. When you gave the homeless person that toonie and stopped to shake his hand and ask his name, you gave your finances and your care. And when you said “I do” at your wedding, and have kept those vows ever since, you sacrificed yourself, your body and soul, to that one person who means more to you than anyone else on the planet. Unless you are living like a hermit, locked away in a cave somewhere, you have made many sacrifices for others, in little ways and big ways, throughout your life. There is no greater example of sacrifice, however, than Jesus. John 10:11 speaks of him this way: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.” Sheep have always been animals easily attacked and destroyed. Without protection they are easy prey for coyotes and foxes. In Jesus’ day, the shepherd was responsible for his sheep and his main role was to protect his flock. The Bible records David fighting off lions and bears. Jesus, the good shepherd, fought off the devil himself and laid down His life for us, His sheep, so that we might have eternal life. What a Shepherd we have in Jesus!
These have been words from the heart.