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4th Sunday of Easter
I am the good shepherd. (John 10:11)
This is the fourth of seven “I am” declarations that Jesus makes about himself in the Gospel of John. In other ones, Jesus says that he is the bread of life, the light of the world, the resurrection and the life, the gate, the true vine, the way, and the door. Each of these declarations tells us something unique about Jesus and who he is as the Son of God.
Using the simple analogy of sheep and their shepherd, Jesus is telling us something central to our life of faith. Like a shepherd, he leads us, feeds us, protects us, and saves us from death. But there’s one mystery that this statement—or any of the others—doesn’t answer: why does God have such unending and boundless love for us?
The answer to this question is both simple and profound. God is love. It’s who he is. He can’t stop loving us. We are his children, and he will always care for us. He loves us so much, in fact, that he asked his Son to leave his heavenly home, take on a human body, and lay down his life for us.
Now risen in glory and enthroned with his Father, Jesus still cares more about us than he cares about himself. Like a good shepherd, he guides us to safety, restores our strength, and anoints us with his grace (Psalm 23). He is the “shepherd and guardian” of our souls (1 Peter 2:25). He is the “great shepherd” who gives his all to his sheep (Hebrews 13:20).
Jesus knows that his sheep are defenseless against the temptations of Satan, the “thief” who wants to steal, kill, and destroy us (John 10:10). He wants us to know it as well, so that we will cling to him and follow him like faithful, innocent sheep. Aren’t you glad that God is so faithful toward you? Today in prayer, tell the Lord how grateful you are. Tell him that you want to follow him wherever he leads.
“Jesus, you are my good shepherd. Come, Lord, and keep me safe.”
Acts 4:8-12; Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28-29; 1 John 3:1-2
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