Today’s Gospel: John 10:11-18
I can read this passage everyday for the rest of my life and walk away having learned something new each time. This time, two things are jumping out at me:
“I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.”
Jesus came to extend God’s mercy to all the nations of the earth. We hear this message so often that we forget what this means. Instead of coming just for God’s covenantal family, Jesus came as the Messiah for the whole world. He wasn’t coming as an earthly king to free them from political oppressors; He came to write a new law on our hearts to free us from the bondage of sin. Whether or not we are “in the fold,” Christ claims us as his own, and He tells us in today’s Gospel that He will stake his life for us. .
“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.”
The Good Shepherd gives up his life for his sheep so that they can have life “and have it abundantly.” Not only did He share in our humanity as Jesus, but He allowed himself to die on the cross so that we would have eternal life with Him. It’s tempting to look at Jesus’ body on the cross and view Him as a victim, but He allowed all of it. He had the power to take Himself down off of the cross, but he endured the humiliation, physical pain, and death so that we might live. Only God could claim that He’s the one to decide when He will die, and when He will “take it up again” or resurrect Himself.
Do I allow Christ to be my shepherd, or am I a stubborn sheep, trying to find my own way apart from the Good Shepherd?
Do I allow myself to hang on the cross with Christ when I am suffering, or do I fight it?
What daily opportunities do I have to start “offering it up” for others suffering in the Body of Christ?
How can I help Christ to gather the lambs in His arms?
Jesus, You are our Good Shepherd! May we live out Your vision for your flock to be “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.” May our oneness with You, the Good Shepherd, draw others to join the flock. Bless us and keep us close to Your Heart, leading us home.
Copyright 2014 Catherine Boucher