John Day 18: The Gate and the Good Shepherd

Good Shepherd by Daniel Bonnell

Gospel of John Reading Plan
Day 18 Reading:
John 10:1-21

Bringing the Word to Life
Spend thirty minutes in complete silence (no phones, no computer, no music, no TV, no clocks). Listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd.

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
– John 10:11 (NRSV)

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live, taking the form of a readiness to die. –G. K. Chesterton

Literally speaking, courage comes from the Latin cor, meaning heart. So when I open up to any experience fully, with courage — our whole heart — it naturally opens me up to a deep love. The blind musician Facundo Cabral said it beautifully: “If you are filled with love, you can’t have fear,” he said, “because love is courage.” – Viral Mehta

Jesus uses the image of a good shepherd to contrast himself with other leaders and “messiahs” who have come before him. The others are faithless (running away rather than protecting) and predatory (stealing, killing, and destroying rather than providing). Jesus is the true shepherd whose flock will know and follow his voice only.

Today’s scripture reading took me on quite a journey. I was first captured in John 10 by the goodness of Jesus- his integrity, selflessness, and sacrifice – all given freely for our benefit. This led me to Daniel Bonnell’s incredible painting entitled Good Shepherd. Jesus’ arms extend beyond the borders of the work just as the sheep extend beyond the sight of the viewer. Jesus’ sacrificial love covers and saves far more than we can see or imagine.

John 10 also led me to Luke 15 where Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep. There we find the good shepherd searching and searching- again driven by his integrity, selflessness, and willingness to sacrifice. We see the compassion of Jesus and the great joy he finds in rescuing the lost. I wondered what the lost one might say to Jesus as a thank you. This drove me to Psalm 23 with its beloved words of gratitude and trust. Then I began to wonder if there were any other “shepherd” psalms. I was delighted to find the goodness of the Shepherd mentioned in Psalm 119 and Psalm 28 as well. This led me to search for songs of gratitude written in more recent years and to compile what I had found into a canticle (a combination of songs and scripture for worship). It was a lovely way to spend a quiet Saturday afternoon.

To see the worship resource that was inspired by today’s reading, click here 

For a worship resource entitled Longing for Heaven which also uses images and themes of the Good Shepherd, click here

Click here for a beautiful reflection entitled The Shepherd’s Voice by Steve Garnaas Holmes.


For more information on the Gospel of John Reading Plan, click here

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

1 thought on “John Day 18: The Gate and the Good Shepherd

  1. Here’s another shepherd scripture for you to consider: Ezekiel 34:11-16 (NLT)
    11 “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search and find my sheep. 12 I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places to which they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. 13 I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers in all the places where people live. 14 Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in lush mountain pastures. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and cause them to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign LORD. 16 I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes — feed them justice!

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