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“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." John 10:11 NRSV

I took a Spanish class many years ago, though I didn't keep up with it. Nevertheless, I remember a few useful everyday phrases. The first thing we learned was in response to the question, "Cómo te llamas¿," the response Mi nombre es …," "My name is (your name)." It was a way of saying "I am" and sharing something about ourselves.

In today's verse, Jesus is stating something about himself, "I am the good shepherd." In this statement, he declares something fundamental about himself. In claiming this role, he assumes all the shepherd's responsibilities as provider and protector (Ps. 23:1-4) and the lengths he was willing to go to—his willingness to lay down his life.

At Moses' first encounter with God at the burning bush, we find another use of "I am."

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ (Ex. 3:14)

"I am" is not some part of God but is God. He is the God that existed before all else and the God of all that is. In Jesus saying "I am," he proclaims he is the "I AM" who came as a willing sacrifice for his sheep. (NOTE: Jesus makes seven “I am” statements in the Gospel of John 6:35, 8:12, 10:7,11,14, 11:25, 14:6, and 15:1.)

Great "I AM," we give you our humble thanks and praise for recognizing us as the lost sheep we are. To save us, you came in human form as our great shepherd, laying down your life that we might live. You did this not because of our worthiness but of your grace. Embolden us to share your great message of love with all yet to hear. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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