The Word

Published 9:42 am Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Greatness spreads its wings through a state of superiority affecting people and objects. It is a phenomenon that is most desirable through its influence. Greatness is known to reside in many common places as well as places of renown. But more importantly, it finds its abode among God’s people whereby other people have ascribed this title in their limited and finite ability. I imagine that you may have been a part of a conversation that suggested that a certain place is a great place based on its renown attractions, topography or breath-taking cultural offerings. Moreover, you may have also ascribed greatness to a person who has blessed your life or others beyond measure through making sacrifices out of love just for you and others’ survival or enrichment of life. However, the defining moment was the fact that the person did not have to do the good deed, but they did.

That is what John the beloved apostle sets before us in the above scripture. Jesus Christ has ascribed the title of “Good Shepherd” unto himself through his renown “I AMs.” This title of “Good Shepherd” resonate with us in that we are his “sheep” and identify with this relationship in the imagery of shepherd and sheep. It is through this relationship as a Christian that our lives are couched in characteristics and tendencies of a sheep. For it is a known fact and even biblically stated in Isaiah that, “we are all like sheep and have gone astray.” Thus, we are part of the vivid image of sheep being led by the shepherd. It is through that image that we find total dependency on the Shepherd. The shepherd leads, guide, and provides provisions for the sheep. Also, and most important is the fact that the Shepherd protects the sheep from dangers that lurk all around. Oftentimes the sheep are not even aware of the imminent danger, but freely roam about seemingly with no cares or concerns whatsoever. And it is the Shepherd’s caring and undying love that is most profound in the life of the sheep. This is the real perspective of his “greatness.” But even beyond all the wonderful deeds of the shepherd, there is another dimension of “greatness” that is unparalleled and can only be ascribed to the “Good Shepherd” lifted before us by John. And that is, “he giveth his life for the sheep.” It was not long ago that it was celebrated universally that Christ is risen. It’s that Good Shepherd that allows his true and superior greatness to be pervasive and grants us access to eternal life. Will you celebrate the “greatness” of the Good Shepherd?

Rev. Dr. James Taylor III is pastor of Jericho Baptist Church in Farmville. His email address is