The Good Shepherd
A devotional by Kay Pflueger
“I am the good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
– John 10:11 (TLB)
One of my favorite images of Jesus Christ is one that seemed to be hung on the wall of every Sunday school classroom I entered as a child.
It was a familiar one to me that pictured Jesus carrying a lamb on His shoulders. I must admit that all I knew about sheep is that you count them to fall asleep at night. So, I spent some time on Google reading about them. I discovered some interesting facts in my reading.
I learned that in biblical times there were two types of sheep pens. There was a permanent pen that was constructed of stones with one entrance so narrow that only one sheep could enter at a time. This allowed the shepherd to easily count the sheep as well as to assess their physical condition. The second type of pen was a rather makeshift one constructed out in the field with whatever the shepherd could find to piece together. The shepherd would lie down across the opening, creating a “human” gate of sorts to keep predators at bay.
What images of Jesus does this conjure up in your mind? To me, as the “gate” in the permanent pen, He keeps track of us and monitors our condition. On the flip side, as the temporary gate, He protects us with His life and body.
As well as proclaiming that He is a gate for the sheep, Jesus calls himself the “Good Shepherd". He mentions some of the characteristics of a good shepherd: someone who knows his sheep and calls them by name, someone whose voice the sheep recognize, and someone who would lay down his life for his flock.
Jesus knows us completely, and that is a comforting thought to me. But, let’s look at it from the other side. What kind of knowledge do you have of Him? Do you recognize His voice?
As part of knowing us, the Good Shepherd (Jesus) calls us by name and was willing to lay down His life for us (His flock). In John 10:28 (ESV) we read, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
Take a moment to ponder the depth of that kind of love.
As we join our hearts in prayer, meditate on these words from 1 Peter 2:25 (TLB): “Like sheep you wandered away from God, but now you have returned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls who keeps you safe from all attacks.”
Let’s pray: Forgive our wanderings, Jesus. Thank you that you search for us and always bring us back into the fold and into your loving arms. In your name I pray. Amen.
*Note from Alexis: Kay’s devotional reminds me of this song based on Psalm 23. Listen to it on YouTube here.
Learning to read as a young child opened a world of adventure for Kay Pflueger. She came to realize that words can have a unique power and beauty.
Choosing to share those words in her devotional writings has become a joyful and rewarding experience for her. As a widow, she feels a special affinity towards those who are grieving or experiencing loss.
When she is not spending time with her married son and three grandchildren, she is either reading, cooking, writing, or working on pursuing her Copyediting Certification.
Kay is an avid baseball fan who looks forward every summer to following her favorite team, the Chicago Cubs.
She is an active member of Victory Lutheran Church in her hometown of San Diego, California.
Kay enjoys writing devotions to be shared on her church’s website and personal social media.
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