If you had a pet kitten that strayed onto oncoming traffic, would you push your beloved kitten aside and die in its place? Probably not. Human life is more valuable than any cherished pet.
If you reared chickens for selling in the market and a rabid hound ventured into your farm, would you save the chicken but risk being bitten? Would you tell the hound, “Take me instead, let the chicken go!” Hmm…no.
But that’s exactly what Jesus did for us. I came to the familiar reading of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Jesus says:
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
I find that so radical. Think about it. A shepherd rears sheep, eventually kills it, and sells the meat and the wool as merchandise. I don’t think he treated them as a household pet. Even if there were extreme danger, would he really give his life for a sheep? It’s ridiculous! It’s just an animal. He still can get more sheep if he wants. But to lose his life would be disastrous.
Jesus was the Good Shepherd who gave his life for the sheep, even at the cost of his life. He was driving home a powerful point to his listeners: I love you with a radical, extreme type of love. The kind of love that will lead me to die so you can be saved.
Jesus died for us lost, helpless sheep.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.
Isaiah 53:6 (NLT)
Jesus willingly died on the cross for our sins and to take away our sins. But he rose again from the dead and conquered death. No longer are we doomed to hell if we believe in Him.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Will you put your trust in the Good Shepherd who loves you and has made a way for you to be with Him forever?