Jesus as the Good Shepherd from the early Christian catacomb of Domitilla/Domatilla (Crypt of Lucina, 200-300 CE).
St. John x. i—18.
Our Lord proclaims Himself the Good Shepherd who gives His life for the sheep and knows them all. He lays down His life of Himself, though at the same time He does so at the command of His Father.
1. The Good Shepherd makes the welfare of the sheep His first care. For this He sacrifices all His personal comfort and interests. For them He endures cold, hunger, peril, thirst, fatigue. For them He is willing to sacrifice life itself. What a picture is this of Jesus ! He has the interest of each one of His flock so close to His Heart that for each He was willing to die. He seeks them in the desert whither they have wandered, dresses their wounds, carries them on His shoulders. O gentle Shepherd! may I appreciate Thy love for me, Thy poor wandering sheep !
2. He knows each one of His sheep, thinks of each, plans the welfare of each, gives to each sweet pasture and true water of life. He loves each far better than any loves himself, for He loves them with a Divine love. Why do I so often run counter to His love? What folly it is! He knows what is good for me, and loves me so fondly that the only limit to His love is the feebleness of my love for Him.
3. It is of His own accord that He lays down His life, for He chose voluntarily this life of subjection as Man. But this life once chosen, all His actions were done under obedience to His Father's command. This is the glory of a self-chosen life of obedience ; it is a close imitation of the life of Christ on earth.
From - The Ministry of Jesus, meditations for six months