Our Gospel is John 10:11-18, taken today from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.
Jesus uses this example to show how He loves and cares for us, as a shepherd tends and defends the flock. Like the sheep, we are unable to save ourselves but Jesus stands between us and the evil that waits for us. We must listen to His voice and stay with the flock.
The Good Shepherd leads us to safety and rest. When we wander off, we place ourselves in danger. If we choose our own path, we lose the safety of the flock.
The Good Shepherd comes after those who are lost, seeking to save us from sin and the price it exacts from us and others. He is willing to take the risk in order to rescue us. When we obey Him and remain on the path He has shown us, we are blessed to be part of His kingdom work and help other lost sheep return to the flock.
Shepherd of us all, we are amazed and thankful that You come to save us. Help us to stay near You in safety, away from the danger of sin. Amen.