John 10:11, 12a, 13-14, 16 - (Jesus said) "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand ... flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me. ... And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. So there will be one flock, one Shepherd."
If you want a dog to herd your flock of sheep, you may want to take a look at a Border Collie. If you want a dog to protect your sheep, you need to get a Great Pyrenees. The "Pyr," which looks like a white St. Bernard, is willing to fight and to die in the protection of the flock.
Roland Hendel of Santa Rosa, California, had two such dogs. One protected their flock of goats during the day; the other did the same job through the night.
When the wildfires started to cross the valley toward his home, Hendel decided to evacuate. He got his children, their dogs and cats. Sadly, the goats had to be left behind. There was no room for them.
On his Facebook page, Hendel wrote, "Odin, our stubborn and fearless Great Pyrenees would not leave the goats."
As they drove away, the family cried because they were certain they were saying goodbye to their dog and their goats. It took some time before Hendel and his family could return to what once had been their home. The house was gone, and some of the trees were still smoldering when they arrived.
Everyone agreed that nothing living could have survived that inferno.
Everyone agreed, that is, except for the goats who showed up, seemingly out of nowhere. And Odin, their dedicated caretaker? Well, Odin didn't run to them. His limping leg prevented that. Nevertheless, Odin did show up, along with a few baby deer who, like the flock, had been preserved, in some miraculous way, by that big hero of a dog.
Two-thousand years ago, the Lord Jesus Christ referred to Himself as the "Good Shepherd."
In the verses which followed that statement, Jesus explained exactly what that term meant to Him.
1. It meant that because He loved His sheep He would lay down His life to save them.
2. It meant that He knew His flock, and they would follow Him to safety.
3. It meant that He would call together a great flock of those who trusted His voice.
Yes, Jesus is the Shepherd, and like everything else He predicted, His prophecies here proved true. Jesus did lay down His life so His people might live. On a Roman cross, He was crucified and in a borrowed tomb His lifeless body was placed.
Everyone agreed nobody could ever survive that cross. And everyone would be right. Jesus did die.
But Jesus also ended up defeating death. He showed to all the world He was alive, and instructed His undershepherds to increase the size of the flock. They were to bring in all who had been saved by the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we, like sheep have gone astray. On our own we would have died. But we have been saved by the Good Shepherd who laid down His life to save us. May we gladly follow Him all the days of our lives. In His Name we pray. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one carried by CBS a Francisco Bay Area on October 16, 2017. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries