‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep'. John 10.11
Many businesses are still suffering the fall-out of the failure of Carillion, and the lives of people linked to that business will be damaged and impoverished for some time. In the subsequent investigation, the Carillion bosses showed no desire to give up pay or bonuses or the shareholders’ profits to save companies dependent on them from going to the wall. That’s business – as the saying goes!
A shepherd in Jesus’ days wasn’t really seen as a noble calling. No doubt the shepherds were pragmatists who would do as good a job as they could, but with certain limits. A business-minded shepherd might be content to write off the loss of a couple of sheep on the debit side, if he could still see a reasonable return from the majority of the flock. With dangers both within and without the sheepfold, from thieves and robbers who enter only to bring death and to those outside who would prey on the flock, why does Jesus allow his sheep freedom to come and go from the safety of the sheepfold?
Firstly, as we read today, it is because Jesus is the perfect shepherd. He loves all his sheep so much that he is ready to defend them from any attack, even from marauders who are willing to kill to get what they want. And he faces up to the logical conclusion of his commitment and responsibility – he is ready to make them safe, even if it costs his life.
This Lent, may we live our lives to the full, knowing that we are under the loving protection of our Good Shepherd – Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
#LiveLent - Let Your Light Shine booklet, written by John Kiddle (author of the best-selling #GodWithUs) is available to buy from Church House Publishing.
Learn more at the Church of England website