Our last in the series is a look at the shepherd. Coincidence that it comes right before Easter? Hmmm…don’t think so!
Sheep must have a leader for they must be led and not driven. They must be told what to do and where to go, otherwise, they will wander off and get lost. They need to be watched over and cared for constantly. Hence, the need for a shepherd.
Since we looked at some of the characteristics of sheep that mirror those of humans, let’s look at some of the characteristics of a good shepherd and how they apply to Jesus as our Good Shepherd.
A good shepherd…
* loves his sheep and continually encourages an intimate relationship with them so that
they will develop trust and know his voice
* knows the things that make them sick and guides them away from them
* always watchful for predators and defends sheep against them
* protects the sheep while they sleep
* leads them to fresh pastures and fresh water
* is gentle yet firm while shearing them, watching closely for injury or disease
* goes ahead of sheep and prepares the path
* disciplines and corrects them
* keeps sheep from fighting, from hurting each other
* searches for a lost sheep and rejoices when finding it
* keeps sheep moving so they don’t get into a rut
* comforts them when they are hurt or fearful
* anoints them with oil to heal an injury or prevent disease
* is pleased when sheep are contented, well-fed, and safe
* knows the sheep’s needs better than they do
* sacrifices his life for them.
We find so much of this in Psalm 23. Adding in some of the definitions, we might look at it this way…
*The Lord is my Shepherd = The Lord is my guide, my companion
* I shall not want = I shall not lack; I have contentment
* He makes me to lie down = He causes me to rest
* in green pastures = giving me habitations of nourishment
* He leads me = He leads me with care to watering stations
* beside still waters = beside quiet waters, refreshing me
* He restores my soul = He draws me to return to Him, to restore me
* He leads me in paths of righteousness = He guides me in ways of rightness
* even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death = even though I move through the narrow valley of death’s dark shadow
* I will fear no evil = I will not be afraid of evil; I will have confidence and trust in my Shepherd
* for You are with me = because You are by my side
* Your rod = Your discipline and protection
* Your staff = Your guidance and support
* they comfort me = are my consolation and comfort
* You prepare a table before me = You arrange and spread out a feast of Your fellowship before me
* in the presence of mine enemies = in the face of those enemies that distress and bind me
* You anoint my head with oil = You soothe me with the oil of Your Spirit
* My cup runs over = You fill my life, saturating it to overflowing with provisions
* goodness and mercy shall follow me = Your goodness and favor pursue me
* and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever = and I will inhabit Your household for eternity.
This Shepherd said, “I am the Good shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me,” (John 10:14 Amp) and “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 NKJV)
As the Good Shepherd that gave His life for His flock, He is also the Lamb of God, the great Sacrifice, of which John the Baptist said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NKJV)
Do you know all that this Good Shepherd provides for you? Do you know Him, recognizing His voice as He calls out your name? Do you know His peace, protection, provision, guidance, and comfort?
I pray you can often be found lingering at the feet of the Good Shepherd, awaiting His touch, and that you know Him as the Lamb of sacrifice.