The Life-Giving Shepherd
A devotional thought from Afshin Ziafat for “Following”
John 10:9-11: “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. 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.”
Jesus’ words about being the door for the sheep conjure up a vivid picture for anyone who understands shepherds in biblical times. When a shepherd slept, he protected his flock by actually laying his body down in front of the gateway to the sheepfold where the sheep lay. If anyone were to go in or out, he had to pass over the body of the shepherd.
Jesus uses this image to display how He would literally lay His life down on the cross for His sheep. Whoever enters by faith in Christ will be saved and go in and out and find pasture. Whereas the thief lives to take life from us, Jesus died to give life to us abundantly. Jesus is the ultimate example of what selfless leadership looks like.
Today, pastors are called to shepherd God’s people, the church, in this way. Pastors are to be selfless in proclaiming the truth though it may be costly for them. Pastors are to put their fleshly desires aside as they demonstrate a life after Christ for their sheep. Pastors are to love the sheep by putting their spiritual health before the pastor’s own gain.
Pause and Reflect
• In what ways does the selfless love of Christ motivate and inform your relationship with others?
• How can you encourage your pastor as he seeks to shepherd the church selflessly?