Jesus said: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."
In all parts of the Old Testament there are many references to sheep and to shepherds. God is said to be like a shepherd in Psalm 23 and in Isaiah 40:11. Many religious leaders in Israel were called shepherds over their people and this was so in the time of Jesus as well. But so often in the Old Testament, as in the time of Jesus, these leaders turned out to be false shepherds — no better than thieves and robbers. In contrast to these, Jesus declares himself to be the 'good Shepherd' and so he proved to be. For the word 'good' you could say flawless, genuine — it means this and more. Jesus is without peer and he came to 'lay down his life for his sheep'.
In laying down his life on the cross, he gave to all who trust and follow him a saved life (John 10:9), an abundant life (verse 10), and an eternally secure life. As the 'good shepherd' Jesus said he had other sheep 'that he must bring also'. To be a follower of the good shepherd we too must go after those 'other sheep' and seek, in Jesus' name, to bring them in to share in his abundant life.
Dear Lord, I am so prone to wander. Please help me always to listen to your voice and to follow you knowing that you are the good shepherd who gives me an abundant life.