I am the Good Shepherd

"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No-one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.

John 10:11-18 (ANIV)


Although the background to this analogy is almost certainly Psalm 23 and other passages in the Old Testament where God is referred to as a shepherd, the term "good shepherd" would have been understood in practical rather than moral terms, because to most of his more respectable listeners no shepherd could possibly be a morally or spiritually good… they were one of the “unclean” professions because of the necessities of their emplyment… it was all very well to talk of God as a shepherd… but you wouldn’t want your daughter marrying one. A shepherd would be expected to lay down his life to protect his sheep… they were his entire livelihood… But no-one would have expected Jesus to follow through on this analogy… The shepherd becoming sacrificial lamb… the lamb who takes away the sin of the world as John the Baptist foretold…


Jesus, you said, 'I am the gate for the sheep’

The way to the place of peace and security.

And you offer fullness of life.

Son of God, protect us.



Jesus, you said, 'I am the good shepherd',

who knows his flock and his flock knows him.

And you give your life for the flock.

Son of God, help us to follow you.


REFLECTION

I am

The good shepherd

You are my flock… the sheep under my care

I know each and every one of you…

I see beyond your similarities

I know all your quirks, your different personalities

Strengths and weaknesses.

I know each and every of you inside out

I know you and I love you

And I want only what is best for you

I know what is best for you


I am

The good shepherd

I know you… but do you know me?

Do you know my voice?

And if you know it do you heed it?

Will you follow were I lead?

Even where I lead you along narrow, rocky paths

Through deep, shadowy gorges?


I am

The good shepherd

I am watching over you day and night

I would die for you

I have died for you

The shepherd become the sacrificial lamb

But I will never leave you

Even when the wolves are circling.

So don’t run…

Stay by my side

And I will protect you

I have already defeated your greatest enemy

I’ve shown that death is only a shadow

So long as you follow where I lead


I am

The good shepherd

Follow me…


PRAYER (Based on Psalm 23)


The LORD is my shepherd,
We commit ourselves again to follow you


But we remember that you are not our personal possession


That we are part of your flock, and that your flock is bigger than this sheep-pen...


Good Shepherd


Lead us on.

I shall not want
Thank you for your provision for us in body and in spirit.
Help us to trust you and not inappropriately put our trust in earthly sources of security.
We pray for those who do want in this world
And for those whose sources of security and provision have let them down in recent days...


Good Shepherd


Lead us on.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
We thank you for your ability to refresh and renew us and pray for ourselves and others who need to know that renewal today
Those who are worn out and weary
Those who have become cynical and hard of heart...


Good Shepherd


Lead us on.

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.


Help us to walk the right paths in this confused and confusing world


But may we not be self-righteous in our relationships with others,

but to do everything to the glory of your name
so that others may come into a right relationship with you...

Good Shepherd


Lead us on.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
May all those currently walking the valley of the shadow of death know your comfort, consolation, strength and protection:
those who have been bereaved and feel unable to move on
and those who are currently facing death, either their own or someone close to them.
May we be your rod and your staff to them
May we be the bearer of your Spirit of comfort...

Good Shepherd

Lead us on.



You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

We thank you for your gracious provision for us even when we are surrounded by people who wish us ill.
We pray that those who are beset by trouble, that they will know your gracious presence with them.
But in the light of your command to love our enemies
We look forward to the time when our enemies will sit down beside us at your table
as our friends
part of your flock.


Good Shepherd


Lead us on.



You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Thank you for the healing, empowering, renewing anointing of your spirit…
May all your blessings to us overflow in praise and service as we seek to bless others in your name.


Good Shepherd

Lead us on.


Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,


May we live our lives in the light of your ever present goodness and love,
but may we also leave a trail of goodness and love in our wake…

Good Shepherd


Lead us on.

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.


We look forward to that time when you lead us to the place you have prepared for us…


But may everywhere we lay down to rest be for us Beth-El, the House of the Lord.

Good Shepherd



Lead us on.





Selah

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