Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Noble Shepherd

The sermon this morning was based on John 10:11-18 on Jesus as the Good Shepherd.
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,
15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.
18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father."
John 10:11-18 (ESV)

Now that I read the passage again, I realise I'm asking a very basic question: why did Jesus use the adjective "good" with his role as a shepherd?

The Greek word used here is kalos as opposed to agathos, in that it is a good in relation to being good and not shameful rather than being good and not evil.

A more accurate translation of the kalos would be "noble". Jesus the Noble Shepherd has died a honorable death for the sake of his people.

To understand it, I found this diagram quite useful:

Source: Jerome H. Neyrey, "The 'noble shepherd' in John 10: cultural and rhetorical background", Journal of Biblical Literature (June 1, 2001, p267)


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