The earliest depictions of Jesus Christ were those of a shepherd. Pictures of the sufferings and crucifixion of Jesus were too painful and inappropriate. The early followers of Jesus felt the image of Good Shepherd was the heart of the Christian message. “I am the Good Shepherd” is the Risen Lord’s self-portrait. I AM professed Christ’s divinity, along with I AM the way, I AM the truth, I the Bread of Life. If a sheep got lost, Jesus was the Way. If a sheep didn’t know which way to go, Jesus was the Truth. If the sheep became hungry, Jesus was the Bread of Life.  And while Way, Truth, Life give direction, Jesus was intent on not letting any sheep go astray, because Jesus was also the Gate. The sheep would have to walk over the Good Shepherd who is lying down, closing the fence and becoming the gate. The Good Shepherd will do anything to keep his sheep close to him.

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