I am the good shepherd

40 blogs of Lent, day 14

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 10.11-16 ESV1

Jesus imagery is taken from things that would have been familiar in the society at the time. In a mostly rural community shepherds would have been a common sight, leading their flocks over the hills of Galilee, Samaria and Judea.

In the UK we still have shepherds, and in an age of TV they can be seen in Countryfile and Flockstars not leading sheep, but driving then with dogs. So how do we erlate to what Jesus said 2000 years ago?

sheepdogI am the good sheepdog.

It is possible to update the language.  Jesus being the sheepdog of his Father the shepherd. The analogy breaks down because the dog does not lay its life down for the sheep. But we do not need to leave the dog imagery alone.

I am the good guard dog

See yesterday’s blog: Jesus protects us.

I am the good search and rescue dog

Turn on the TV news.It will not be long before the next natural of man made disaster. People searching through the rubble of a collapsed building, using search and rescue dogs to locate the scent of survivors and victims. Then the good news as we see the footage of a child being lifted out of the mess that was once a building and taken to an ambulance.

Or the TV could be showing tracker dogs on the mountains, finding people who have been cut off by a change in the weather.

Jesus as the one who actively goes out to find those who are lost and in danger is a good Biblical image.The church is commissioned with continuing that task. We should be doing things that reach out to people in the continuities where we are set.


1 All bible quotes are from the English Standard Version Anglicised
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

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