Jesus is (8) the Good Shepherd

I am the Good ShepherdThe Bible says that we are all like sheep who have gone astray. That isn’t a compliment.

Sheep desperately need a shepherd, or they will wander off defenseless. They need someone to guide them, protect them, and care for them. Without a shepherd, sheep are absolutely helpless.

Isn’t that just like us? Left on our own, we will always go the wrong way – to the wrong places, to the wrong people, to the wrong things.

We get messages all the time, from the media, from celebrities, from friends and family, about how we should live our lives, about what will make us happy, about what will give our lives meaning. Some of the people who try to guide us are very well meaning, but that doesn’t mean that their guidance is true. Who do we follow?

Jesus told his disciples that he is the shepherd they should follow.  He said many people would try to lead his sheep, but only he is the “good” shepherd.

1. The Good Shepherd comes in the expected way

I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. (John 10:1-2)

Jesus said that he, the one and only “Good Shepherd”, came the expected way.

That is, the Old Testament said the Messiah would have certain characteristics. There are dozens of prophesies in the Old Testament about who Jesus would be – and it is a fact that Jesus is the only man in all of history who fulfilled these prophesies. The prophecies said that the Messiah would:

  • Be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14)
  • Be the son of God (Psalm 2:7)
  • Be descended from Abraham (Gen. 22:18), Isaac (Gen. 21:12), Jacob (Num. 24:17), tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10), family of Jesse (Is. 11:1), house of David (Jer. 23:5)
  • Be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
  • Be Presented with gifts (Psalm 72:10)
  • Be God and man (Isaiah 7:14)
  • Be preceded by a messenger (Malachi 3:1)
  • Teach first in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1)
  • Perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5,6)

There are many other examples of these prophesies as well, all of which were fulfilled in Jesus. Only Jesus fulfilled all these prophesies showing that only he is the Christ, the “Good Shepherd,” and not an impostor.

2. The Good Shepherd guides the sheep

The sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. (John 10:3-4)

Left to our own devices, we will wander away from the shepherd every chance we get. When we submit to Christ, though, and lean on his understanding, he will guide us in the better way. As David described it, the Good Shepherd “leads me beside quiet waters” and “guides me in paths of righteousness.” (Ps. 23:1-3).

3. The sheep are safe in the Good Shepherd’s hands

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)

Jesus says that once we belong to Him, no one can take us away.  That relationship is eternal.

That doesn’t mean that there will be no wolves baying at the perimeter. It does mean that he will protect us and that none of our enemies or predators will be able to destroy our relationship with God.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Ps.23:4)

~~~

We need a shepherd, and in Jesus, we have a Good Shepherd. The relationship is tender, loving, and secure. No one can ever snatch us out of his hand.

~~~

More posts in this series:

Jesus is (1) the Son of God
Jesus is (2) the Son of Man
Jesus is (3) our Savior
Jesus is (4) Lord
Jesus is (5) risen. He is risen indeed!
Jesus is (6) coming again
Jesus is (7) the True Vine – Part 1
Jesus is (7) the True Vine – Part 2

You’re not too broken

This may be the worst method for teaching about sex I’ve ever heard. And it’s apparently been used in churches and youth retreats.

broken flower

Matt Chandler told the story. Here’s the gimmick: With young people sitting in a circle waiting to hear a lesson on God’s plan for sex, pass a delicate flower to an audience member and ask them to pass it around the crowd. Everyone should touch and smell the flower and appreciate its beauty. At the end of the talk, ask for the flower (now battered and worn and scraggly) to be passed back up to the speaker. Hold it up and say, “Now, who would want a flower like that?

I get the point. If you let everyone use you, you won’t be the same. Something is lost. But to imply that the flower is now irreparable and unwanted? To ask, “Who would want a flower like that?” That’s terrible, and I wonder if anyone who would ask that question has even heard the Gospel.

Because I’ll tell you who wants a flower like that:

Jesus Christ wants a flower like that.

 

He left heaven to turn over rocks looking for flowers like that.

He came to save flowers like that.

He stands on the front porch scanning the horizon, hoping that flowers like that will come home.

He would leave ninety and nine whole flowers to rescue one flower like that.

He offers flowers like that living water.

He died for flowers like that.

And he tells people who enjoy sitting in judgment over flowers like that that they should cast the first dang stone if they’re so perfect.

Of course God has a plan for sex, and it’s a good plan, designed for our enjoyment. When we stray from that plan, there are consequences. And when we seek to gratify our God-given desires in our way instead of God’s way, it is sin, and we need to be forgiven, because sin is deadly serious (whether it is sexual sin or any of the other ways that we rebel). But that doesn’t mean that God wants you any less. It doesn’t mean that you are no longer his child. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a ministry. Jesus came to fix broken things, not to reject them. He wants nothing more than for us to repent and enjoy his fellowship.

“The Lord is there to rescue all who are discouraged and have given up hope. He is close to those who have suffered disappointment. He is near to the brokenhearted. He saves those who are discouraged, crushed in spirit and who have lost all hope.” (Psalm 34:18)

True, young people need to learn about God’s ideal, and they also need to understand intellectually about the price they may pay if they reject it. But more than that, they need to know that a Savior came who loves them just the way they are, even if he loves them too much to leave them that way.

Broken_glassGood grief. We all have a past. Abraham got tired of waiting and turned to his wife’s maid. David stole a man’s wife and then had him killed. The woman at the well couldn’t count her lovers on one hand. The woman about to be stoned was a prostitute. Zacchaeus and Matthew cheated everyone they could. Peter denied Jesus during the hour of Jesus’ greatest need. But God chased them. Sought them out. Restored them to fellowship. He reached down, picked up what was broken, and made it whole.

That doesn’t mean that Jesus ignores sin. Forgiveness and overlooking are very different things. But whatever it is that has made you a broken flower, don’t let anyone ever tell you that no one would want a flower like that.

Because Jesus wants a flower like that.

You’re not too broken for him.

Similar Posts

Does God really care about me?
Peter’s Restoration (and ours)
Courage

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With to Tim Challies and Matt Chandler.

Jesus is (7) the True Vine–Part 2

my father is glorified by this

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you're not good enough (and other things Jesus never said)

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apart from me you can do nothing

It has been about 2000 years since Jesus was born, lived on earth, died on the cross, rose again, and ascended into heaven to be with the Father. As we've studied, the Bible says he is going to come again, and it could be any time, but we do not know … [Continue reading]

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behold I am coming soon

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for I know that my redeemer lives

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As a Bible Study teacher, I've made it my business to learn as much as I can about the way that Jesus taught. I found this blog post by Andrew Spence interesting: Why did Jesus use the language of vocation and economics in his teaching? By using … [Continue reading]

Jesus is (4) Lord

why do you call me Lord

Words mean things. To call Jesus “Lord” is more than a sign of respect. It is to acknowledge His authority over us. If our drives and impulses say one thing and Christ says another, we follow Him, not our desires. If His word expresses truth … [Continue reading]

Jesus is (3) our Savior

i have come that they may have life

My friend Jim Rives asked it this way: “If God asked you why he should let you into Heaven to live with him for all eternity, what would you say?” (In other words: What do you rely on for your salvation?) Would you point to your good … [Continue reading]