Jesus: Our Good Shepherd (July)

by Christina Book

by Sarah Bryant

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep… I am the good shepherd, and know my and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep … My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”1

 In the previous parable, Jesus places Himself in the position of a Shepherd over His flock. We, His people, are referred to as His cherished sheep. Jesus is our perfect Good Shepherd in the ways He cares for us, leads us, and ultimately loves us so much that He lays down His life for us.

First, Christ cares for us. Every day of our life brings us new struggles and “mountains” to overcome. As one of Jesus’ little lambs, we may look up the side of the looming hillside and say, “Lord, why do I have to go through this?” Then He takes us in His strong arms and carries us over the mountain and to the restful valley. Our petty troubles may often seem too small to “bother” the Shepherd with, but Jesus cares about our every worry and need: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” Whenever we may feel burdened or weary, He will strengthen us in His might, for He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”2 Jesus is the giver of strength and we can run to Him with every worry, no matter how small, for the Good Shepherd cares for His little lambs. When we cling to Him, we can say with the Psalmist, “He restoreth my soul.”3

Besides taking care of our needs, Jesus also leads us in His ways. “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”4 At times it is hard to see the way in which God wants us to walk, but when we stay ever close to the Shepherd’s side, we need not worry or be lost. Though in our sin we may stray from His side, He will draw us back and point us in the right direction. “Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.”5 When we can’t see around the next “bend in our road”, God takes us by the hand and says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”6 When we don’t completely understand the ways in which the Shepherd leads, He will give us grace to trust: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”7 God’s ways are always perfect and He calls us to follow Him, because He knows best.

By Emily Meyer

God cares for us and leads us, but ultimately, He loves us. Jesus loves us in ways beyond what we can imagine or understand. His love is so much greater than our imperfect love, for He says, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”8 His love is perfect and unchanging. Our futile human minds can’t begin to grasp the depth of His faithful love for us: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”9 Though we may waver, He never will, and though our love is imperfect, His love is eternal.

As the Good Shepherd, because of His great love, Jesus laid down His life for us: “I lay down my life for the sheep.”10 Jesus died on the cross to save His precious lambs from eternal death because He loved us. He once said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”11 There is no greater love than the love of Jesus Christ, our truly Good Shepherd. He gave of Himself in order to save us and make us His own. “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”12 We belong to Christ forever and will spend eternity with Him because He paid the final price for sin. We are His white, cleansed lambs, belonging to the Good Shepherd who bought us with His blood: “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”13 We are perfect lambs for Christ has cleansed us with His blood.

In closing, Christ is truly our Good Shepherd. May we continually look to Him and eagerly await the day when we see Him perfectly as the Lamb and also our Shepherd: “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”14 When the Good Shepherd is at the forefront of our lives and we follow and seek Him, by His grace, Jesus will supply our every need, guide our paths, and love us perfectly. We sheep will finally find sweet peace when we walk with Jesus, our Good Shepherd.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” 16

-Christina Book
{Guest Writer}

NOTES

1 Verses from John 10
2 1 Peter 5:7
3 2 Corinthians 12:9
4 Psalm 23:3a
5 Psalm 23:3b
6 Isaiah 48:17
7 Jeremiah 29:11
8 Proverbs 3:5-6
9 Isaiah 55:8-9
10 Romans 8:38-39
11 John 10: 15b
12 John 15:13-14
13 John 10:28
14 1 Peter 1:18-19
15 Revelation 7:17
16 Psalm 23

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