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The shepherd gave his life to give life to the sheep

October 28, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Ezekiel 34:11-16, John 10:7-15

Ezekiel 34
11 The LORD God proclaims: I myself will search for my flock and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out the flock when some in the flock have been scattered, so will I seek out my flock. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered during the time of clouds and thick darkness. 13 I will gather and lead them out from the countries and peoples, and I will bring them to their own fertile land. I will feed them on Israel’s highlands, along the riverbeds, and in all the inhabited places. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their sheepfold will be there, on Israel’s lofty highlands. On Israel’s highlands, they will lie down in a secure fold and feed on green pastures. 15 I myself will feed my flock and make them lie down. This is what the LORD God says. 16 I will seek out the lost, bring back the strays, bind up the wounded, and strengthen the weak. But the fat and the strong I will destroy, because I will tend my sheep with justice.

John 10
7 So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves and outlaws, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 When the hired hand sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. That’s because he isn’t the shepherd; the sheep aren’t really his. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. 13 He’s only a hired hand and the sheep don’t matter to him.
14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Ezekiel didn’t settle for showing the failure of Israel’s human shepherds. He saw God as promising that God would be the good shepherd who would “seek out the lost, bring back the strays, bind up the wounded, and strengthen the weak.” John’s gospel completed the story. God came to earth in the person of Jesus, and as promised reached out to the lost and the strays, bound up our wounds and took special interest in the weak. He didn’t just talk about that—he actually did it (e.g. John 8:2-11). He was the Good Shepherd, and in the end, he did indeed give up his life for the sheep—us.

  • Reflect on the stories Jesus told—the shepherd going over hill and dale until he could bring the lost sheep home and the woman diligently sweeping and searching for the lost coin. In what ways can these stories deepen and enrich your inner sense of how much God loves and values you? Had you ever imagined that every time you move closer to God, a party breaks out in heaven—that you are that important to God? How can trusting that God loves you in this heartfelt, relentless way give you a solid foundation for living “life to the fullest,” as Jesus promised in John 10:10?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, your love seems almost (but not quite) too good to be true! Thank you for giving your life for me. Transform my inner life, broaden my horizons, and shine out of me as I enter into your joy. Amen.

GPS Insights

Rebeca Chow

Rebeca Chow

Dr. Rebeca Chow serves as the Clinical Counseling and Support Director at The Church of the Resurrection. Dr. Chow is a bilingual Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Missouri/Kansas and a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, with a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Kansas State University. She is a consultant for the Kansas Division of Family Services and Sesame Street in Communities.

Maintaining good mental health during difficult times is essential as it forms the cornerstone of our overall well-being and resilience. When confronted with personal, societal, or global challenges, our experience is determined by our sense of safety and the need for connection with each other and God. These connections empower us to process and manage stress, anxiety, and grief, allowing for a clearer perspective, more effective problem-solving, and resilience.

Resilience, after all, is the capacity that we have to face difficult challenges, to not only survive but to thrive and grow. In the face of adversity, resilient individuals draw upon their unwavering faith, utilizing setbacks as stepping stones towards growth. Resilience is not about being immune to suffering; it is about gathering the inner strength to rise above it, knowing that God’s grace and guidance are ever-present.

Additionally, embracing and accepting one’s emotions, recognizing that they are part of God’s design, is an essential step toward being present and believing we have the capacity to overcome challenges.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, call the Mental Health Lifeline at 988.  This service is confidential, free, and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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