by Rick Warren — January 26, 2023
From Living in the Goodness of God
“My purpose is to give life in all its fullness. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
John 10:10-11 (TLB)
Sheep are essentially defenseless animals, so a shepherd carries a few tools to care for and protect his sheep. He has a rod for guarding and protecting, and he uses a staff with a little crook in it to rescue the sheep.
We are like lost sheep in need of protection and direction—so Jesus came to Earth to be our Good Shepherd. He said, “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:10-11 TLB).
Just as a shepherd uses the physical tools of the rod and the staff for direction and protection, God wants to direct and protect you. Here are two ways he does that:
If you follow him, Jesus leads you in the right direction.
If you visit a major city like Paris without a guide, you’ll miss all kinds of important things, because you won’t know what to look for.
The same is true with your life. You need a guide—a shepherd—to go before you. You need Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who leads from the front and calls you forward. This is different from being a cowboy, who drives cattle from the back. Jesus is not going to push you through life. He gets in front of you and essentially says, “Watch how I do it. Look where I go.”
John 10:4 says, “When he has led out all of his sheep, he walks in front of them, and they follow, because they know his voice” (CEV).
If you bring your hurts to him, Jesus is compassionate.
Jesus has compassion on us, because he knows that we are helpless without him. Matthew 9:36 says, “When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (NIV). The sense in the original Greek text is that Jesus hurt deeply for the people in the crowd and wanted to help them.
In the same way, when you bring your pain to Jesus, he doesn’t put you down; he lifts you up. He doesn’t hassle you; he heals you.
Because of God’s goodness, Jesus directs and protects you. Jesus is our Good Shepherd, who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 ESV).
Tomorrow we’ll look at three more benefits of God’s goodness: how he guides, guards, and saves.