Thursday, November 19, 2015

I Am The Good Shepherd

Jesus provides outstanding care and protection for his sheep.

John 10:1-5  "I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber!  2  But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.

3  The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  4  After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.  5  They won't follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don't know his voice."

John 10:9-11  Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through Me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.  10  The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.  11  "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep.

In the previous post we saw the Light of the world in action bringing light to a man that had never seen it before. This should have been a great reason to bow down and worship Jesus but as we saw there was only one man that responded correctly to Jesus. The Pharisees reaction to Jesus miracle was horrendous, the very men that had been appointed to take care of the sheep made it very clear that they didn't care at all about the condition of the flock. (John 9:39-41) The response that you have to The Light of the World is an indicator of what your spiritual condition is.

The Sabbath rules were more important than the man, we saw the same thing in John 5, when Jesus healed the lame man by the Pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath. They were the worst shepherds, more concerned with making money off of the sheep and promoting their self righteousness, Jesus didn't let their obvious lack of concern for this blind man go without a lesson on how the good shepherd should behave.

The Good Shepherd loves his sheep and he makes his love known by the great lengths that he will go to in order to take care of them. He left the riches of heaven to join us in our world and experience our heartache but he went way beyond our experience and suffered much more than most of us will ever endure.

Who has ever seen love like this? Nobody has ever loved like Jesus loved. I imagine that this blind has never felt love at all, he was a burden to his parents, he was accused of sinning before he was born, he lived in a culture that didn't have any social programs to give him any care or relief from his circumstances.

Psalms 23:1-6  The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.  2  He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams.  3  He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.

4  Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.

5  You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.  6  Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

Jesus is the Shepherd that we need, the only source of salvation, safety, and sustenance for the sheep, his personal care for the sheep reminds me of the intimate relationship that David had with God. I don't think that anybody else has ever spoken of their relationship with almighty God in such a warm affectionate manner.

God Provides What Is Best

God is almighty, powerful and we should fear him but that isn't a good way to build a relationship with anybody. The Warren Wiersbe Bible study points out that many of the compound names for Jehovah in the Old Testament focus on the type of relationship that David talks about in Psalm 23:

"I shall not want”

Jehovah-jireh, “the Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14)

"He leads me beside still waters”

Jehovah-shalom, “the Lord our peace” (Judges 6:24)

"He restoreth my soul”

Jehovah-Rophe, “the Lord who heals” (Exodus 15:26)

"He leads me in the paths of righteousness”

Jehovah-Tsidkenu, “the Lord our righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:16)

"thou art with me”

Jehovah-shammah, “the Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35)

"presence of mine enemies”

Jehovah-nissi, “the Lord our banner” (Exodus 17:15)

"anointest my head”

Jehovah-M’Kaddesh, “the Lord who sanctifies” (Leviticus 20:8)

David said that because we have such a Good Shepherd there isn't anything else that we need.

Despite God’s Care There Will Be Danger

It is interesting to me that even though he "guides me along right paths" sometimes those right paths will lead us to places that we don't really want to go. Sometimes the right paths will lead us to the dark valley but we do not have to experience the scariest places in life all alone.
Isaiah 43:1-2 But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the One who formed you says, "Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine.

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
The Good Shepherd will be there with his rod and his staff to defend us from danger and to pick us up when we fall. Jesus isn't going to throw away something that he paid such a high price to obtain, he has already given his life to protect his sheep from the sting of death, so don't you think that he will take care of you through any other catastrophe that comes?

God Gives Special Attention To His Guests

I have an invitation to God's house, a house that he has been preparing for me to live in, he has been preparing this place for a long time because I will live there forever. The house is amazing but the host is even better.

The Shepherd honors me by anointing my head and he prepares a feast for me, a benefit that my enemies do not have, and he also takes care of the enemy so I can enjoy being at his table. Imagine how refreshed I am and ready to cope with anyone that is against me.

Jesus provides outstanding care and protection for his sheep.

Under the old covenant, the sheep died for the shepherd, but under the new covenant, the Shepherd died for the sheep! The old covenant had been twisted into a huge burden that kept the sheep in bondage, there wasn't any thought of allowing for mercy, the shepherds of God's flock told them that you had to do everything right or else. (Matthew 9:13)

We will have trouble in this world, Satan is against us, we are objects of scorn because of our attachment to the Shepherd. (John 16:33) We may suffer, we may loose our family, our job, we may be deprived of our rights but in every circumstance we should look to the one that loved us enough that he "made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,” (1 Peter 2:25)