Follow the Leader

As a child, I remember playing the game, “Follow the Leader.” In this game, one person is chosen as the leader, and everyone has to follow him or her wherever he or she goes. Likewise, whatever the leader does, everyone else has to do! Needless to say, this could get quite crazy, depending upon the “mood” or the “silliness” of the leader. But it is a fun game for children and it also is a good tool of teaching kids about listening, respect, and obeying whoever is in charge. As we continue on our journey through the “I AM” statements of Jesus – discovering more and more about who he is and growing in our faith at the same time – we now come to two separate statements which pretty much reveal the same truth about Jesus: “I am the Gate” AND “I am the Good Shepherd.”

Each of these statements is centered around the idea of sheep. First of all, John tells us that Jesus is the gate for the sheep. Each of us is a part of the flock of sheep, and only through Jesus are we able to experience the good pasture, or life with God. Secondly, Jesus declares, “I am the good shepherd.” Through this image, we are shown that Jesus is willing to lay down his life for us – a foreshadowing of his eventual death on the cross. Together these two images paint a picture of the perfect leader – one who cares for his or her followers and will lead them to the “good pasture.” Jesus is our leader and we, his sheep, should follow where we are led. Because he will not lead us astray and will protect us at all costs. And furthermore, we are shown that to be Christ-like, we must act in the same manner. So, as we continue to grow in our faith, are you willing to make this commitment to lead others – putting yourself on the line in order to care for one another? The answer to this question provides the key to living like Christ.