I AM…the Good Shepherd

john 10 11“I am the good shepherd.” Jesus made this bold statement in John 10:11 and 14.  He knew the people understood the job of a shepherd and the sacrifice it entailed.  They were to guard their sheep with their life both during the day and night against wolves, bears, and any disaster that might come their way.  He was their first and only line of defense against the outside world.  Jesus was identifying and claiming this same relationship and responsibility with those who were following Him then and those of us who would follow Him in the future.  I love the passage in John 10 as it gives me comfort and assurance of who Jesus is to and for me.

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.”

Jesus promises that He is the good type of shepherd that will stick with us always.  He was not hired to watch over us but is committed to us because He loves us.  He affirms that He has a relationship with us in verse 14 and He knows us and we know Him.  Jesus says He willingly sacrificed His life to save us and bring us into a close relationship with Him and the Father.  Romans 5:8 puts it this way, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Hand lettering God is good on watercolor heart.The attribute of being good belongs to God alone.  It is His nature to be good where our nature is rooted in sin.  So when Jesus says He is the good shepherd, He alone can claim this as He is God.  Here are a few verses extolling God’s goodness:   Psalm 34:8 “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!  Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”   Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those who wait for him,  to the soul who seeks him.”  Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good,  a stronghold in the day of trouble;  he knows those who take refuge in him.” Titus 3:4 “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,”    God’s goodness was truly shone when He sent Jesus to redeem us.  He desires to know us and love us.  Through Jesus we can be  brought into the arms of our loving Father.

john 10 14Jesus rightly claims to be our good shepherd, do you know Him?   He knows you and desires to embrace you with His love and care.  Step into His arms today and receive His love and protection and find that safe harbor in Him for eternity.

Linda

Is God your Shepherd?

good shepherdDavid saw God as His shepherd and wrote about him in Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.          The shepherd provides.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.       The shepherd guides
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.                                          The shepherd restores.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;                                      The shepherd protects and comforts.
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me              The shepherd knows the future and
in the presence of my enemies;                                prepares for me.
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me        The shepherd is with me eternally.
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

 

Do you regard the Lord God as your shepherd?  The shepherd was the one who tended, cared, protected, defended and loved his sheep.  God is described as the shepherd of the nation of Israel in Isaiah 40: 10-11 “See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,….He tends his flock like a shepherd:  He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;  he gently leads those that have young.”  Jesus described himself as the good shepherd in John 10:11 “ “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”  Then in John 10:14-16 “ “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. (Here Jesus was referring to those who were not Jews, the Gentiles.) I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”   Jesus is the perfect image of the good shepherd.  The sheep listen to Him, know Him and He sacrifices Himself for this beloved sheep.  What a beautiful pictures of our loving God.

good shepherd 1Today as you reflect upon God, consider the 23rd Psalm and Jesus’ words in John.  Know that you are loved and cared for by your loving heavenly Father and that your good shepherd, Jesus, will guide, protect, defend, hear, and love you. 

Linda

Loving Jesus Requires Faith in Action

Today’s post-resurrection appearance is a continuation of the fishing scene I wrote about in Encountering Jesus brings on May 17, 2019.  When they (Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, John and James and  two other disciples) had followed Jesus’ instructions and cast their nets as He directed, they hauled in a great catch.  Jesus had a welcoming fire waiting on the beach and beckoned them to bring some fish for roasting.   They ate together and then Jesus spoke to Peter.

john 21 15When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. ”  John 21:15-17

Jesus had previously had an encounter with Peter where I’m sure they dealt with Peter’s great guilt over his denial.  (Luke 24:34, 1 Corinthians 15:5)  Scholars put this first appearance to Peter on Resurrection Sunday where this encounter in Galilee is later.  Here it would seem Jesus is making a point of asking Peter about his proclaimed love for Him.  He asks 3 times, like his denials.  Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him and if he does, then Peter is to show his love for His sheep.  He is to feed or tend to His sheep.  Throughout the gospels sheep have been synonymous with followers and my sheep specifically believers in Jesus.   John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”  Jesus is the good shepherd who died for all believers.  John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,”  and John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”   Jesus is asking Peter to demonstrate his love for Him by leading, tending, loving, caring for, guiding, protecting…. those who are believers in Jesus.  He is saying ‘be a good shepherd’ to the flock of believers that come into your life.

Isn’t that what Jesus wants for us too?  As believers, like Peter, we are to look out for others, lead them towards Jesus, care for them, show them kindness and give that ‘cup of cold water’ in His name.  Knowing Jesus, requires us to take up this ‘job’ and love others.  We do it not because we have to but because we love Jesus.  James tells us faith without works is dead (James 2:26 ) and loving and showing Jesus to others is our compelling love Jesuswork for Him.  We do it not out of obligation or for future reward but out of love for our Savior.  Who will you show love to today?  Who will you ‘feed or tend’ in Jesus’ name?

Linda

All we like sheep

This scripture passage was also included in Sunday’s Poignant Gratitude blog, but Handel’s Messiah has a separate chorus for this verse that is very beautiful. Let’s look at this today in the Amplified Translation.

Isaiah 53.6Isaiah 53:6  “All of us like sheep have gone astray,
We have turned, each one, to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the wickedness of us all [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]  To fall on Him [instead of us].

Believers or followers of Christ were often referred to by Jesus as ‘sheep’.  It was an image that the people of His time could relate to as most towns and villages had herds of sheep.  They were familiar with the idiosyncrasies of sheep and how much care they required.  They knew sheep were prone to wander and get lost if the shepherd did not guide, protect and lead them.  Jesus called himself the good shepherd and states His willingness to die for His sheep.  A good shepherd would want to protect his sheep from predators and would fight to defend them even if it caused his own death.  John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”  In verse 14, Jesus tell about the sheep and how those who believe in Him will know Him.  “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.”   In verses 27-28, Jesus assures us we will recognize Him, follow Him and be protected by Him.   “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”  In Luke 15 Jesus gives the parable of the ‘lost sheep’ and how as the good shepherd he pursues any and all that are lost that they might know Him and be saved.

Not only is Jesus the good shepherd but in His death He took on the sins of the world so that mankind could be reconciled with God.  And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,”  Colossians 1:21-22  He took all sins upon Himself and paid the price for sin which is death.  Hebrews 10:10 “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  Jesus took the penalty for my sins and yours so that we might be freed from having to pay sin’s price, which is death.  Romans 6:22-23 “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

savedPrayer:   Lord Jesus, thank you for being my good shepherd and dying for me on the cross.  You took the punishment for my sins and gave me life, hope and freedom from the bondage of sin.  Thank you that through your blood I am covered and when God looks upon me He sees your righteous covering instead of my sin.  You promise that my sins are gone and buried in the depths of the sea and this gives me hope.  He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”  Micah 7:19  Amen.

Blessings to you as you ponder the power of His reconciliation and the hope of His righteousness imparted to you.

Linda

Assurances of Our Shepherd

isaiah-40-11-1He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young.  Isaiah 40:11

This prophecy in Isaiah points to the coming Messiah as a shepherd who will tend His flock with care and love.   Jesus called himself the good shepherd, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep, John 10:11.  A few verses later in 10:14 He said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me”.  Some of the most tender and reassuring verses about Jesus’ love and care for us are John10 28found in John 10:27-28 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”   No one, nothing, nowhere and at no time can anyone or anything snatch us away from Jesus.  Once we belong to Him we are His eternally.  He is with us 24/7 and is always accessible instantaneously through prayer.

Let the assurances of the good shepherd carry you through this day and bring you comfort.

Linda