April 4. Reading and Leading Up to Easter. John chapter 10.

Tuesday, April 4                    John 10

The Good Shepherd

Seven times in the Gospel of John Jesus uses the phrase “I am..”. Two of them appear in the 10th chapter.  These are metaphors by which Jesus tells us about Himself and what He does.

“I am the bread of life.”  (6:35,48)

“I am the light of the world.” (8:12 and 9:5)

“I am the door.”  (10:9)

“I am the good shepherd.”  (10:11)

“I am the resurrection and the life.”  (11:25)

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (14:6)

“I am the true vine.”  (15:1)

Nearly all of chapter 10 is an expansion on Jesus’ ministry as Shepherd – the good shepherd.  Jesus uses one of the most common occupations of his day to teach us about our relationship to Him.  It is an enlightening study.

But one aspect of His shepherding ministry supersedes that of any natural shepherd.  In verse 15, He says, “I lay down my life for the sheep.”  This is more than courageous defense against a lion or wolf.  This is an intentional act of self-sacrifice.  He came to die for us.

Later, He underscores by saying in verse 18, “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”  Jesus willingly went to the Cross.  In reality, the Jewish leaders did not inflict this on Him.  The Romans did not concoct this.  Jesus willingly laid His life down as a sacrifice for our sins.

That elevates our understanding of the Cross…and of Easter.