A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11
This is one of those verses I’ve heard over and over again in my life. When it comes to familiar verses, it can be easy to skim over them in our reading and studying. I think that’s why I’m enjoying this scripture challenge. It is making me slow down and get beyond all I’ve heard, studied or known about some of my favorite verses.
Sometimes, when studying scripture, we need to dig deeper into the people or places being used to express the meaning. Jesus and the authors of the Bible used examples from their daily lives to help explain God’s great love, lessons, and truths to those around them. Just like it’s easier for us to understand scripture when our teachers or pastors use modern examples to make scripture come alive so it was for the people of Biblical times.
We don’t have a lot of shepherds around these days. So it can be difficult to understand the background, concepts, and meanings that make these verses come to life. So, I dug into shepherds this week.
Interestingly, the shepherd who guarded his sheep didn’t have a door or hinged gate to lock as a means to protect his sheep. Instead, the shepherd would actually sleep across the doorway. Meaning, he was the “literal” door between himself and his sheep. Just as a shepherd would lay down to guard his sheep, our Shepherd (Jesus Christ) also laid down His life for us. Jesus not only stands in the gap (doorway) for us, He opens the door to eternal life and protects us like a Good Shepherd.
I love this illustration of Jesus as a door. A door of protection and opening to eternal life. A shepherd that loves, adores, protects and guides. Everything else is like a thief in the night that only leads to death and destruction. Like a thief, sin can sneak into our hearts and lives destroying everything from health to our relationships.
BUT Jesus came so we could have life, guidance, protection, forgiveness and love. Things a thief can never take away from us with the Good Shepherd as our protector. May we all find joy and thanksgiving this week in the truth of His promises and great plan.