Our Shepherd Gave His Life for His Sheep
By Curtis K. Shelburne
In this fallen world we are accustomed to hearing stories of selfishness and greed, but, as Paul Harvey used to say, “Wash your ears out with this!”
When Wake Forest freshman baseball outfielder (and 19th round draft pick for the New York Yankees) Kevin Jordan became ill in April of 2010, he was diagnosed with a disease that eventually caused his kidneys to fail. Family members all failed to be matches for a kidney transplant, but Wake Forest baseball coach Tom Walter asked to be tested, and was found to be a match.
In February 2011, Walter donated a kidney to Jordan, giving him quite literally a new lease on life. Coach Walter was quoted as saying that the decision was a “no-brainer.”
He went on to say, “I would do anything to help any one of my players or any of my family members. Anything in my power to help them have a better quality of life is something that I want to do.”
One thing is sure: while other coaches might speak such words, Coach Walter backed up his words with actions which his team and family would never forget.
“I am the good shepherd,” Jesus said. “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
Good words, those, but they are more than just words. Our Lord, our Shepherd, when faced with the deep need of his flock, backed up his words by going to the cross so that all of our sin and guilt might truly be atoned for and dealt with forever.
When we consider the physical pain of Christ’s suffering and death, we are amazed at such sacrificial love, and rightly so.
But I wonder if we can even begin to imagine the deep pain and the true cost to the Sinless One as he quite literally took on himself and away from us forever all of the sin and guilt of the world. As the Apostle Paul writes, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
What a “transplant”! Filthy and dying souls are exchanged for souls spotlessly clean and filled with the very life of Christ!
For us, the gift is free as we say, “Yes!” and open our hearts and hands to the One willingly laying down his life, but for the Giver, no gift was ever more costly.
Far more terrible even than living life chained to a dialysis machine, we were, apart from Christ’s gift, chained to our sins and condemned to eternal death. Now healed and whole because of his gift, how can we but live each moment of our lives with joyful thanksgiving to the Giver, the Good Shepherd who willingly lay down his life for the sheep?