A Lenten Devotional by scotty smith
In the history of the Christian church, Lent is set aside as a 40-day season of reflection and preparation, culminating in the explosive joy of Easter Sunday.
Lent provides believers an opportunity to reflect on the life of Jesus, as he made his way to Jerusalem to die for our sins. The goal of this season is to heighten our love for Christ, to acknowledge our need for everything Jesus is and has done for us, and to intensify our gratitude for the gospel. For this reason, the “feel” of Lent isn’t morbid introspection, but Spirit-given conviction of sin and fresh assurance of grace—through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Each of these Lenten devotionals is written using the Biblical text of the upcoming sermon at WECC and appropriate for individuals or to use as a family. Please read through the Scripture, and enjoy a few unhurried moments of reflection with God and His word.
Scripture: John 10:1-18 | Jesus: Our Good Shepherd
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
Jesus presents himself as both the gate into the sheepfold, and the shepherd of the sheep. He has come to gather us; he has come to gather you. In this gathering, he gives us “life to the full”—abundant life (John 10:1–10). Take a moment to thank Jesus for seeking, finding, and enfolding you into a life of grace.
The Good Shepherd is the Lamb of God, who laid down his life for us (John 10:11–18). Linger in this sobering, humbling, gladdening news. Jesus has laid down his life for you—paying the complete price for the forgiveness of your sins.
Jesus doesn’t just forgive us; he also grows us into his likeness. As we reflect on our present need for God’s work and grace in our lives, in what areas of your life do you long (or want to long!) to be more like Jesus? Be encouraged; you can now run to the throne of grace with confidence. The Good Shepherd welcomes you, will take your burden, and give you life to the full.
The One who knows us the best, loves us the most. Jesus knows you and loves you like no one else. Close this reflection with a few unhurried moments of praise and adoration of Jesus:
“Jesus, what a privilege to know you as Good Shepherd. No one is more attentive to our needs, committed to our care, and engaged in our protection than you. We have an enemy on the prowl, the devil, who is always looking to rob, kill, devour and destroy us. But you came to give us life—the fullness of life as it can only be found in you. You have protected us, defeated our enemy, and purchased us for God at the price of your life. We are your sheep only because you are God’s Lamb. Yet not only are we sheep, we are sheep that are known. You don’t just know our names, you know us. We’ve been exposed, found out. And not only did we survive, we now thrive in being known by you. We know you only because you know us! You know us the best and still love us the most! Hallelujah, the gospel is true. Hallelujah, the gospel is true! For the praise of your name we pray, amen!”