“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep 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 are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:14-18
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In chapters 11-13 the prophet Zechariah told of a flock destined for slaughter because it had been tended by “foolish” shepherds, who were interested in their own gain rather than the well-being of the sheep.
Then the Lord anointed a shepherd to tend the flock. Under the care of this “good” shepherd the flock prospered, and the worthless shepherds were sent away. But the sheep traders became upset because they had lost the income that the flock was producing so they fired the good shepherd and when they paid him for all his good work, they only paid 30 pieces of silver. (The price of a common slave or the wages of a few days work.) The good shepherd then took this insulting sum and threw it into the house of the Lord – to the potter.
The good shepherd then broke the symbols of God’s favor and His unity with the community and pronounced judgement on the people who had disrespected the flock, foretelling that they would lament over the one whom they have pierced. At the same time, the Lord remembered His promise to David and promised to pour out grace and mercy on the faithful.
Every time I read Zechariah, I am struck by the many similarities between the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ passion and the vision of Zechariah half a millennium earlier. Once again demonstrating that God’s plan for sinful humanity was just waiting for the right time to be fulfilled. Jesus is truly the “good” shepherd of Zechariah’s vision and the authorities of Jesus’ day were “foolish” shepherds leading the flock to destruction.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, Good Shepherd, overwhelm us with Your love so that we can love others the way You love us. Amen.