“Live life to the fullest”—follow the good shepherd

Posted Jul 20, 2021

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Daily Scripture

John 10:10-16

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. 16 I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock, with one shepherd.

Reflection Questions

Due to the much-loved Psalm 23 and to Jesus' image of himself as the good shepherd, there’s now a certain “halo effect” about shepherds. But in Jesus' day (and still in much of the Middle East), most people looked down on shepherds. So Jesus chose a somewhat daring metaphor when he called himself “the good shepherd." His main point was plain: a good shepherd always wants what is best for his sheep. Jesus came to offer us the best possible life, life “to the fullest.”

  • Scholar William Barclay wrote, “The Greek phrase used for having it more abundantly means to have a superabundance of a thing. To be a follower of Jesus, to know who he is and what he means, is to have a superabundance of life.”* How do ads for everything from banks to cars, beverages to hair-care products, hold out a similar promise? How easy or hard do you find it to trust, every day, that following Jesus truly offers you the fullest, most satisfying life?
  • Jesus said, “I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen” (John 10:16). By the time John wrote his gospel, there were probably many more Gentiles than people who shared John’s Jewish heritage among Christ followers. When have you been happily surprised to meet a believer from a “sheep pen” you didn’t realize Jesus loved as much as yours? Have you been able to uplift and bless people you’d have been uncomfortable with before you met Jesus?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I want to “live life to the fullest”—the way YOU define that phrase. Plant the seed of your word in my heart, and grow it into a life that nourishes life in others. Amen.


* William Barclay, The Gospel of John—Volume 2 Chapters 8–21 (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 60.

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Randy Greene

Randy Greene

Randy Greene is a part of the Communications team at the Church of the Resurrection. He helps develop and maintain the church's family of websites. He is also a graduate of Central Baptist Theological Seminary and loves to write stories about faithfulness.

It’s really interesting to me that Jesus spends a lot of time in this passage drawing a distinction between the shepherd and the thief. The shepherd is the one who nurtures the sheep and cultivates the fullness of their lives; the thief is the one who comes to steal and destroy the lives of the sheep.

In this teaching, I am one of the sheep. A couple of disjointed thoughts stand out to me as I read the passage:

  • As a sheep, the best place for me is following my shepherd. The shepherd will protect me from danger, lead me to food and water, and care for me when I get hurt or sick.
  • It’s easy for me to be distracted from the guidance of my shepherd. There are lots of temptations to wander or be lured away. When I abandon my shepherd, I am vulnerable to the thief.
  • When I wander, other sheep are likely to follow me into danger and away from the food and water we need.

When we take on the call of being an “influencer,” as Pastor Scott has reminded us we are to do, we also take on the responsibility of leading people. It’s important that we lead them not to follow us, but to follow Jesus – we are representatives of Christ. We, like John the Baptist, are here to point others to Jesus, and we can’t do that if we’re not following Jesus ourselves.

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