Daily email Number 178 – from the Vicar

Good morning everybody, hope you are doing okay.
Here is our 2nd “I am” saying from John Chapter 10, let us read verses 11 to 21.
We have 2 key verses today, v.11, ‘I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.’;and v.14, ‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me….’
Shepherds and sheep are a figure of speech or picture that are used throughout the Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament, whether these are positive pictures like in Psalm 23, ‘The Lord is my shepherd’, or negative pictures like the useless and heretical shepherds described in Ezekiel Chapter 34.
A shepherd in the Bible is one who leads and looks after God’s people, whether that is the Lord Himself, or human leaders appointed as under-shepherds to do the task on earth.  One of the words that we use today for church leader, pastor, is linked to this.  And God’s people, who are the sheep, need looking after, because like sheep we often wander away and get lost!
And here we see from John Chapter 10, that the Good Shepherd is one who is willing to lay down his life sacrificially for the sheep.  He does that because he really cares for them, especially when they are in trouble (when there are wolves around), as distinct from the hired hand who just cares about himself.He is the one who really knows his sheep, and has a distinctive voice which can be recognised and listened to by them.
Here is a picture of the Lord Jesus and how He loves and cares for us, and who was willing to die for us.
I wrote yesterday of my first BIG idea from these “I am” sayings which I had never really clocked before.  Here is the 2nd.They are all set either in the context of contrast between good and bad, so we have light and darkness, life and death, shepherds and thieves/hired hands, or these sayings lead to arguments and disputes amongst those listening, some believe (brilliant), but some are openly hostile. What we think as Christians are really helpful and comforting sayings, ‘I am the bread of life’, leads to some grumbling (Ch.6 v.41), and ‘I am the good shepherd’ leads to some thinking Jesus is raving mad (Ch.10 v.20), and in other places wanting to kill Him.
When Jesus claims to be God, we realise that we are in a battle!
In our church address list, we start back at the top again, and we remember in prayer today,- Colin & Penny- Martin & Lucie

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