Even pre-dating the cross, the icon of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is among the oldest images of the Christian tradition. It is found sketched and painted on the walls of third-century catacombs, an image that must have provided both comfort and hope to the early Christians. One of the words that best summarizes the character of a good shepherd is “steward.” A good steward takes responsibility and accountability for all under his or her care. Join us for worship for a closer look at Jesus as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-21).
John 10:11-21 (NRSV)
11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”
19Again the Jews were divided because of these words. 20Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is out of his mind. Why listen to him?” 21Others were saying, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”