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“I Am the Good Shepherd”

Psalm 95:7- "... because he is our God and we are the people he takes care of, the sheep that he tends."

Next to Jesus saying, I Am the Vine, I really enjoy this comparison that Jesus used when He says, “I Am the Good Shepherd”. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. The worker who is paid to keep the sheep is different from the shepherd who owns them. When the worker sees a wolf coming, he runs away and leaves the sheep alone. Then the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. The man runs away because he is only a paid worker and does not really care about the sheep. “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and my sheep know me,” -John 10:11-14

Jesus came to this earth not to be a king or ruler; He came with one purpose. Teach this world in need, the love of God and to show them that when they choose to follow Him, they have a salvation like no other. Each day on this earth Jesus spent sharing the good news of God hoping that all would find a hope and love. It was again on one of those days that Jesus taught a lesson to all who would hear. On this occasion we hear Jesus’ claim, “I Am the Good Shepherd”- John 10:11-14. So, what was Jesus claiming when He said this? What does a shepherd do and why would Jesus claim to be one?

Isaiah 40:11 gives a clear example of what a shepherd does. They care for their flock, they tend to their needs, they hold the sick in their arms and they make sure not one is lost. Even in the gospels Jesus uses parables of shepherds to understand what He was teaching about who He is, The Good Shepherd.

Even though Jesus could have compared Himself to many other things He chose to use the shepherd for several reasons. One reason the shepherds were well known and well understood while Jesus was on this earth, and they were something many people could relate to. Also, a shepherd has only one agenda in his life, his flock of sheep. They spend their days in the fields with their sheep making sure nothing harms them. Thirdly, the sheep know their Master’s (the Shepherd) voice and will only follow him. If a thief calls them, they will run the other way. If a paid employee is taking care of them and a wolf comes, that worker will leave the sheep and run away. Because the Shepherd loves his flock, he will protect his sheep and they know to run to him for safety. The sheep follow their master because of the unbreakable trust that has been formed.

This too is how Jesus spends His days. He is here for us 24/7 helping us to stay out of harm’s way. We must trust His leading and His voice and not let ourselves be deceived and led away. Jesus is saying when we follow Him, our Shepherd we will be led to salvation. Ezekiel 34:31, “As for you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are men, and I am your God.” Luke 12:32, “Don’t be afraid little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”

There was another time Jesus used sheep and their shepherd to teach a lesson to those who listened which included the Pharisees. It was again one of those days that Jesus taught a lesson to all who would hear. Needing to eat Jesus finds a place to sit with his disciples. It was not in the palace, not with those in authority, instead Jesus decides to sit among tax collectors and sinners. As he eats, once again the Pharisees and scribes find Him to point out His flaws with complaints. “Look this man receives sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:2) After all He claims to be a teacher, a man of God and look at Him lowering Himself to a station below Him.

Jesus calmly smiles and again speaks in a parable. This time a parable of a shepherd and his sheep. If a shepherd has 100 sheep and loses one, does he not leave the 99 to go find the one? When he finds the one, he takes the sheep home and calls all his friends and neighbors to come rejoice with him. ‘I say unto you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents then over 99 just persons who need no repentance’. (Luke 15:7)

Jesus is our Shepherd. He came to earth to save His sheep that no one is lost, and all have a home in heaven. We all have strayed and have lost our way, but Jesus has not and won’t turn away. He will still sit and eat with us; He will continue to search for us and when we find our way back to Him, He rejoices. All of heaven rejoices. So, don’t lose heart, the Shepherd is still seeking and waiting. He is here for us with a kind word waiting to share with us the love of the Father.

There is a story of a shepherd who, one night heard a wolf attacking his flock. The wolf had a lamb in its grasp when the shepherd arrived. Immediately the shepherd started hitting the wolf with his staff. It became a war between the shepherd and the wolf as the shepherd fought feverishly to free his lamb while the wolf tried to hang on. Finally, the wolf did let go and the shepherd went back to his flock to sleep for the night. The next morning the sheep woke to their shepherd lying dead covered with his own blood from the battle the night before, but his flock was saved.

When I read this story, I understood more what Jesus was saying when He said He is the Good Shepherd. God made us, we are His creation, His chosen people. He chose this earth, and He chose us and even when He could have started over after the first sin of man, He still chose us and sent Jesus to be like us, to be our Shepherd. God wants to be reunited with us but because of sin we lost our salvation and the way to forgiveness was the shedding of an innocent lamb’s blood. God’s plan sent His Son Jesus to this earth to be that lamb for us. He died on the cross shedding His own blood for all our sins so we can have forgiveness and salvation. We are part of God’s flock, and He is looking forward to the day we are reunited with Him.

This is why it is important to learn our Master’s voice, so the temptations of this world and the voice of satan, the thief won’t steal us away from our Shepherd. To know His voice, we must spend time with Him, follow Him to the green pastures as we relax reading the Bible and praying daily allowing Him to communicate with us and teach us. Jesus is our Good Shepherd and only wants the best for us His flock and He will do all He can to make sure we get that. Follow the Shepherd today.

We have had a few weeks of taking a break from our 1 Corinthians study but I hope you have made time to still open the scriptures and read what Jesus has led you to read. Whether reading or listening to God's Word we need to take care how we listen. The Bible is God's revealed truth. There are riches in the pages waiting for you, you just need to be still and allow God to speak. Let's pick up our study in 1 Corinthians reading chapter 11:2-16. Remember there is a link that follows that have questions that could help enhance you studies or just read and let the Holy Spirit speak to you.

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