“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
I’m a big “Star Trek” fan. One of the most memorable lines in one of the Star Trek movies was in “The Wrath of Khan”. Spock, a stellar first-office who never allowed emotion to overrule logic, sacrifices his life for the sake of his captain and crew. He makes a comment, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
What an incredible reminder of the willing and voluntary sacrifice of Jesus . . . The God-Man gave His life so we, as men without God could have ours.
Jesus calls Himself, “The Good Shepherd” in John 10. He reminds us that The Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep. The sacrifice of Jesus is again refocused. He gives His life.
Those who shepherd the flock of God . . . pastors, elders, ministers, teachers, small group leaders . . . all who have spiritual responsibility and/or authority are exhorted or advised to lead sacrificially, humbly and willing. (I Peter 5)
What a paradox from what many model today as spiritual leadership.
We see many spiritual leaders practice honor over humility. Preference instead of deference. Personal acceptance of sin instead of public admonishment of sin.
Some even cloud the responsibility of leaders to live a holy and exemplary life by claiming the right of license to practice unholy and dishonoring life choices.
A leader who diverts the responsibility and consequences of their own sin with a demand of receiving grace and forgiveness is selfish and proud. This not considering the sheep . . . it’s covering for self.
Jesus reminds us of example as The Good Shepherd, with encouragement for us to be good shepherds.
A Good Shepherd Provides. Psalm 23 tells us that The Lord leads us beside still waters. He provides a cup that runs over. He prepares a table for us. Good shepherds know how to provide for their sheep. They give nourishment with teaching and enrichment with encouragement.
A Good Shepherd Protects. Jesus contrasts a good shepherd and a hired hand. When danger comes, the hired hand will leave the sheep unprotected and vulnerable. A good shepherd willingly “stands in the gap” for the sheep. He is willing to give his all in order to keep his sheep safe.
A Good Shepherd Practice. Peter encourages leaders to be examples to the flock. Simply put, those who have spiritual oversight and responsibility are to live a life as a good shepherd that exemplifies The Good Shepherd . . . one who serves willingly, for the right motive and by living a right example. “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you;not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.”
We all are shepherds to someone . . . pastor to a church, boss to employee, teacher to students, parent to child.
In these roles, let’s take time to provide some encouragement, protect from any enemy and, practice by being an example.