Words from the Heart for Thursday March 22nd, 2018
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
John 10:11 (NRSV)
The Good Shepherd
It is the place of the shepherd to give care to the sheep. However, Jesus announced that He was not only a “good” shepherd, He was also going to give His very life to meet their greatest need. He would sacrifice His life that the sheep could dwell with Him forever. No one “killed” Jesus. Rather, He made the choice to do the Father’s will and give His life. What a great privilege to belong to a Shepherd like this.
Sheep farming in Canada goes back as far as the beginning of agriculture. The first sheep were introduced to the country in 1664. These days there are about 860 pure breeds of sheep in the world. In Canada, 52 breeds are present and the large majority is selected and bred for meat production. Breeds that produce quality wool are almost absent. Around 1830, British immigrants brought the first pure breeds to the country and these breeds continue to comprise the basis of Canadian ovine livestock.
We have good friends who raise sheep. They spend a lot of time early in the new year birthing lambs and making sure that the sheep are safe and healthy. And when the new lambs are born, they ensure that they are getting enough to eat and are well cared for. Jesus used a shepherd analogy a number of times as He taught and trained His followers. In John 10:11, He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” There were two types of shepherds in Jesus’ day. There were those who were hired to look after sheep and there were those who owned the sheep. When danger came, the hired shepherds would flee, but the good shepherd, who owned the sheep was prepared to give up His own life in order to save the sheep. Jesus said He was the good shepherd. He died in order to liberate His sheep from the clutches of the Enemy whose only desire is to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus, the good shepherd, died for you, the sheep He loves.
These have been words from the heart.