Tag Archives: the Good Shepherd

October 24; Sheep and Children

John 9:35-10:21; Mark 10:2-22; Matthew 19:3-15; Luke 16:18, 18:15-23

Jesus talks about sheep and children in the passages we read today. Both sheep and children are totally dependent on someone else to meet their needs, to care for and lead them. Neither can thrive without help.

Sheep and children can both be described as innocent, trusting, perhaps naive. But Jesus uses sheep and children to describe you and me. Not warriors. Not intellectuals. Not fierce lions or cunning cobras. We are sheep. We are children.

Or we should be.

Yesterday God impressed on me the fact that He is the Truth, and He alone can free any of us from the stranglehold sin has over us. Today, he reminds me that I need to come to Him with complete trust, the same kind of trust a sheep has for its shepherd. I need to come to Him in total dependence, like a child’s unapologetic dependence on his parent.

God is telling me today through His Word that I have nothing to offer Him. A sheep doesn’t tell the shepherd how to shepherd. A child doesn’t know what’s bests for him, is unable to make wise decisions, so he depends on a parent to do that for him.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd, the Good Father. And He can be totally and completely trusted.

I said God is showing me that I have nothing to offer Him. I’m going to amend that a bit and say I realize I have nothing to offer God but myself, and He is assuring me that’s all He asks. I want to be a sheep in His pasture, a child in His care.

So I give myself to Him as freely and as unconditionally as a sheep who follows the voice of my Shepherd, like a child who knows her Daddy loves and cares for me.

And like the sheep enclosed in the pen protected by the Shepherd, and the child drawn close to the Father in a loving embrace, I want to live my life totally dependent on the One who loves me and gave Himself for me.

Sheep and children? Yep. That’s me.

 

John 8-11; Who Is This Guy?

He healed a blind man. He raised his dead friend to life again. He forgave a sinful woman. He not only said He was God, He backed up His claims with action.

Who is this guy? Let’s look at who He says He is.

  1. I AM the light of the world. (8:12) He said in verses 31-32, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The Truth of Jesus Christ is the light in a dark world. Chapter 8 is full of Jesus’ deity, ending with His bold pronouncement in verse 58: “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I AM!”  That’s the Light; the knowledge that makes everything clear, makes the world make sense, frees us from the chains of sin. Jesus is God!
  2. I AM the Son of Man (9:37) Once again Jesus is proclaiming His deity. Then He says to all of us, “Now that you know that, what you do with the Truth is on you. You will be held accountable.” (vs 41) Once you’ve read these words here in God’s Word, once you have heard it proclaimed, you can no longer say, “I didn’t know.” Because now you DO know. Jesus is God!
  3. I AM the gate. (10:1-10) Jesus is not only God, He is the ONLY way to the Father. There is no other way into the fold. Jesus is the protector and defender who knows His sheep by name. Which means He also knows who are NOT His sheep.
  4. I AM the Good Shepherd (vv 11-18) And not just for Jewish sheep! All of us who listen to His voice are part of His flock, loved and secure. Our Shepherd laid down His own life so we can live eternally! His sheep! Our Savior!
  5. I AM the Resurrection and the Life (11:25) From creation to the end of time and into eternity – Jesus IS.

The Great I AM.

Yes, Jesus made some bold claims, did some unexplainable things while He walked in human form here on planet Earth. And He did and said those things so that you and I could know Him.

If Jesus had been crazy or delusional like some have claimed, the Pharisees would have killed him the first time the words “I AM” came out of His mouth. I don’t believe a mere man would have been able to survive their attempts. They certainly thought about it often enough. They just couldn’t wrap their minds around what they heard and saw.

Can you? Who is this guy? Martha knew:

“Yes, Lord,” she told Him, “I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” (11:27)

He is that guy!

 

Zechariah 11-14; One

The first couple of times I read these chapters I was excited to see how Jesus is woven into so many verses. Then it dawned on me. He’s not just thrown in there a tidbit at a time. It’s all about Jesus! If things about Jesus are woven into this tapestry, the completed product is Jesus Himself.

Jesus, who doesn’t act like a foolish shepherd, but who is the Good Shepherd. The Shepherd who cares for His flock, who searches for His lost sheep. Jesus, the Shepherd of the Church, the Gospel that blesses some, and sends others reeling.

Considering these chapters, Matthew Henry said that those who reject Jesus, and are determined to further their sinful agendas consider the Church an obstacle, and want it gone. (Sometimes I  have to remind myself this guy wrote hundreds of years ago.) What Henry said seems to be gaining momentum in our present society, doesn’t it? But Henry also reminds us that no matter how hard they try to rid the world of the Church, it is built on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ, and it will stand until the end. As bleak as it has looked in any age, as it may look right now, we win because of Jesus.

Jesus, the One who was pierced for our sin, is the Great Leveler, as seen in Zephaniah’s example of the split Mount of Olives. Everyone escapes through that valley. It’s the only way.

Jesus answered him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

The Great Leveler.

Zephaniah reveals Jesus, the Living Water flowing out to all the earth. Reminds me of Pentecost when the Spirit of our Lord was poured out on the believers, and people heard the Gospel in their own languages, no matter where they were from. Then those people took that same Good News home with them and told others who spoke their language about the saving power of Jesus. That Living Water is still reaching lost souls everywhere.

I hope you’ll read the book of Zephaniah and let the old prophet encourage your relationship with Jesus, help you to see Him, and know His great love for you. There is so much more in here than what I’ve shared. It’s a book about the Name above all names.

14:9 tells us what those of us who know Jesus personally already know:

There is only One King, One Lord. One Name.

Jesus.

 

Psalm 19-24; The God the World Doesn’t Know

Christianity gets a bad rap these days. Christians are painted as bigots, judgmental, homophobic haters. God is cursed for being unfair, cruel, jealous. If they only knew.

Most of us who spent any time in Sunday School as children probably memorized the 23rd Psalm. When I read it today I realized it describes the God unbelievers don’t know. It describes what God longs to be for all of us and them:

Our Shepherd.

The One who protects us from our enemy Satan, the One who provides everything we need because He provides Himself, His presence and strength. We don’t need Oprah or pop-psychology or self medication. We don’t need to fear, or to worry, or to feel anxious about anything because He leads us to calm waters even in storms.

He leads us toward righteousness, which is anything but politically correct. But He never leaves us or forsakes us no matter what kind of resistance we face. We go through difficult times, losses, illnesses, pain. But we need not fear because the Holy Spirit – the Comforter – has come and lives right in us.

He blesses us in ways the world can’t understand, because God wants the world to see that He is a God who blesses. He is always working in the hearts of men to draw them to Himself, the Shepherd who wants to be these things for them, too, who does not will that any of them die without Him.

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) The God unbelievers don’t know is the God who went to the cross for love of them; the God who paid what none of us can pay, and who saves all who call on the name of Jesus. He’s not cruel. He is loving and self-sacrificing, and gracious.

Then, the psalmist ends with reminding us that this life is temporary. Eternity awaits. And those of us who know Jesus will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Why don’t unbelievers know the truth about God? Could it be because believers aren’t telling them?

Dear Shepherd, sometimes your children seem to think that everyone knows the truth about you and chooses to reject you. But I wonder if that’s true. I wonder if some of these people who are so critical of Christianity really have no idea who you are. Their knowledge of you comes from movies and FB. I pray that you will lay on the hearts of your people, the fervent desire to speak the truth to those who have no clue. Because the God they don’t know is a compassionate Shepherd who wants to spend eternity with each of them, and who died so that can happen.

October 24 – Jesus And Me

John 9-10:21

Jesus told the healed blind man that He was the Son of Man. Jesus called Himself the door through which a person is saved. He said He was the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. And He said He has the authority to take it up again.

I hope you are reading about Jesus’ last days on earth with me. Hear Him tell you that He is the Savior, the Son of God who died for you. Get to know this One who loves you so. I can’t help but make it personal as I read through His Word. Jesus is my door to salvation, He is my Good Shepherd who cares for me in this life, who died to save me, and who lives today.

If you haven’t accepted what Jesus did for you, I pray you’ll do that today. If Jesus is already your Savior, I pray by reading His Word you’ll love Him more, and serve Him better.

When I read these verses I see my relationship with Jesus, my Door, my Shepherd, my Savior. He’s everything to me.

The Good Shepherd

I was reading in John 10 this morning, and remembered something my pastor shared when he spoke on this text a few weeks ago. Jesus tells us he is the Good Shepherd as well as the door for the sheep. Maybe you already knew this, but this is what I learned:

Shepherds were with their sheep 24/7. They spoke to the sheep often so that they would recognize the shepherd’s voice. The more time the shepherds spent speaking to the sheep, the more familiar their voices became to their flock. Because there were times even shepherds needed a hot meal and a good night’s sleep.

Occasionally, the shepherds would lead their flocks into town, and put them in a community pen with sheep from other flocks. There was a gate and a guard to keep the sheep secure while the shepherd went home for a few hours. (I like thinking of Jesus as the gate, keeping me safe and secure, too).

In the morning, the shepherd fully rested, would go to the pen and begin talking. His sheep would hear his voice and go to him. The other sheep would simply ignore him. Those sheep did not recognize the shepherd’s voice. The shepherd would gather his flock and be on his way, leaving the others behind.

The question is, have I spent enough time with my Good Shepherd so that I know his voice? Have I devoured Scripture, spent time in prayer, listened to sound teaching so that I can distinguish my Shepherd’s voice from all other voices that are calling to me?

Or do I follow many voices, follow many ideas, believe things to be true that are not Scriptural, following this one, then that like a lost lamb? Jesus said his sheep hear his voice and follow him. Does that describe me? Describe you?

May it be so.

My Dear Good Shepherd, thank you for your voice that calls to me from your Holy Word. Thank you for the promptings that lead me where you want me to go. Thank you for loving me, caring for me, protecting me from the enemy who would destroy me if he could. May I stay close enough to you that I not only recognize your voice, but can ignore Satan’s voice as well. And may I follow you wherever you lead.

October 24

John 9:35-10:21; Mark 10:2-22; Matthew 19:3-15; Luke 16:18, 18:15-23

Jesus made it pretty clear that he wanted to go to the cross. Very plainly he said no one can take his life from him, but he is going to lay it down of his own accord. He has the authority to die and live again.

He was talking about the sheep and painted a picture of the New Testament church. As the Good Shepherd he loves the sheep. He brings in sheep from other pens and makes them one flock. (As a non-Jew that thrills me!). The Good Shepherd protects his sheep with his life.

Jesus calls himself the gate and reminds us that he is the only way into the pen. There just is no other way. Salvation is inside the pen where Jesus promises to give abundant life to the sheep.

As Christians we realize that we are the sheep, that salvation comes only through Jesus and his work on the cross, and that he gives us more than we could ask or think in this life and in eternity.

When the rich young ruler asked Jesus what he could do to earn eternal life Jesus, knowing that eternal life cannot be earned, listed the criteria. Don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t commit adultery, etc. The young man said something like, ‘Got that covered, Jesus. I’m golden’.

It touches me that Jesus looked at the young and loved him (Mark 10:21). Then he said, ‘go sell everything, give it to the poor, and follow me’. In other words, ‘Ok, so you’ve succeeded in playing the I’m a Good Person game. Let’s check your heart’s condition.’

We read the man left disappointed. Maybe he thought Jesus was asking too much. I’m not sure. But the young man left knowing that earning eternal life was more than just loving his neighbor and being a good guy.

I do know that our Good Shepherd loves us, that he willingly laid down his life for us, and that he is alive today. I know that he is the only way to the Father, that he cares for us and blesses us when we give our lives to him. And I know that eternal life is his gift to us, paid for by his blood and nothing I do can earn it on my own.

Good Shepherd, thank you for your provision of abundant life on this earth and eternal life with the Father. Thank you for showing us again and again that you are the only way, that your work on the cross is available to all people, and that the ticket to eternal life comes with accepting it on your terms. Thank you for willingly going to the cross so that we can walk through the gate and experience the sweet fellowship we have with you. I like being a sheep in your flock, Lord.