“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:10-11) This passage is an agrarian depiction of life that Jesus’ disciples would have easily understood. The hills around Galilee were filled with sheep and shepherds. Jesus describes the true motivation behind a shepherd in 1st Century Palestine.
The shepherd had three main tasks. First, to know and call the sheep. The sheep knew the real shepherd’s voice and he would name them, so he could call them out individually. (John 10:14) Jesus called out and calls out everyone who will follow Him. Second, the shepherd was to feed and protect the flock from wolves and robbers. (John 10:8-10) Jesus’ whole ministry was spent shepherding His people and providing a place for refuge for them. Finally, the shepherd was to lay down His life for the sheep. (John 10:17-18) Sheep were so valuable in that day that shepherds lost their lives protecting and rescuing them. Jesus is our Good Shepherd laying down His life for the World.
One theologian said it this way, “After the Resurrection, Jesus did not invite His disciples to a time of communion on the Mount of Transfiguration. He said, ‘Feed my sheep.”- Oswald Chambers