When Jesus calls himself the “Good Shepherd,” he is contrasting himself with all those previous leaders who had been poor and incomplete shepherds, no better than hired hands really. By contrast, Jesus identifies himself as the good shepherd, the one truly ready to “lay down his life” for the good of the sheep. Of course, that is what Jesus eventually did upon the cross, and it was that act of laying down his life for the sheep, all God’s people; which are, after all, all people from every time and every place – that created the new community, the new flock, that we call the church.
In this new flock, we are all both shepherd and sheep – called of God to care for each other and for the world. We are invited today to reflect upon the sacrificial death our good shepherd died for us. We have an opportunity to open ourselves up to the transforming power of the gift of new life, letting our lives be changed by the Risen Christ living in us and in this community. We are called to continue the work of the good shepherd, caring for one another, loving each other, dying a little for each other, opening doors and tearing down barriers, bringing everyone into the sheepfold, into God’s beloved flock.
- Rev Dr Delmer Chilton – The Lectionary Lab