Jesus, The Good Shepherd

Jesus, The Good Shepherd
You may have heard of Jesus’ statement, “I Am the Good Shepherd.” Today, I’ll spend some time thinking of what this means to me.
As a whole, shepherds weren’t held in high esteem in the days Jesus lived. Sheep herding wasn’t a high-status occupation. It was a dirty job—no showers out in the fields—and the shepherds would have smelled like sheep. But the sheep were important, and people would have known the diligence and self-sacrifice of a good shepherd.

From the dictionary:

A shepherd is a person who herds, tends, and protects sheep.
Someone who protects, guides, or watches over a person or group of people, is acting as a shepherd.
Often, members of the clergy are called shepherds.
Also from the dictionary, synonyms for shepherd are: protector, guardian, defender, and keeper.

The shepherd was faithful to rise early in the morning, and to lead the flock from the sheepfold (pen or enclosure.) He walked ahead, leading them to pasture and supplies of fresh water. The sheep knew their shepherd, so they followed. The shepherd patiently watched his sheep all day, making sure none of them strayed. If a sheep did happen to wander off, the shepherd searched tirelessly until he found his lost sheep, and brought it back to the safety of the flock.
In the evening, he brought his flock home to the sheepfold, and counted each one as it passed through the door, to be certain none were missing.
His job wasn’t finished at sunset. The shepherd often stayed awake to protect the flock, fighting off wild beasts or thieves who would come in the night. Jesus said a good shepherd would fight to the death, while the shepherd who had no stake in the flock would run away.

In the book of John, chapter ten, Jesus said, “I Am the Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for the sheep.”

Biblical references to the Good Shepherd are many.

Peace: Psalm 23:2-3 tells how our Good Shepherd causes us to rest in green pastures, leads us to still water, restores our soul, and leads us in the path of righteousness.

The Good Shepherd is faithful. From Genesis 28:15, The Lord promised to watch over his children—the nation of Israel—and protect them wherever they traveled. He would be close to them until his promises had been accomplished.

The Good Shepherd is our guide. From John 16:13, Jesus promises the Holy Spirit will guide his children—believers--into all truth. He, the Holy Spirit, will speak on the Father’s authority.

The Good Shepherd’s role as Father. From Luke 11:13, Jesus encourages us to think about what we would do for our children. Most of us would do everything in our power to provide our kids with the best. Think about how much more our Heavenly Father will give his precious Holy Spirit to those who ask.

A psalmist wrote of how the Lord protects the simplehearted. When he was in great need, the Lord saved him. When he was pushed back and about to fall, the Lord helped him.

Simplehearted means free of deceit, artless, and sincere. The Lord knows us very well. Putting on an act, in front of our Heavenly Father, is pointless.

I've been in great need, pushed back and about to fall. When in that place, pretense falls away. The peace and security, the Good Shepherd offers, is precious enough to cause me to kneel before my Lord, seeking his counsel and help-heart and soul laid bare. I’ll trust my Good Shepherd to instruct and lead me.
(Psalm 32:8, 116:6, 118:13, 145:14)

You Should Also Read:
Jehovah-Shalom - The Lord is Peace
Jesus is Known by These Names
God Who Sees Your Pain

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