The Good Shepherd

Read: Psalm 23 & John 10:1-21

One of the best known parts of the Bible has to do with the Lord being our Shepherd. Many people either know of Psalm 23 or have it memorized, and many would proclaim it as their favorite if asked to name their most favorite passage in all of scripture. But how often do we stop and really think about what these words are saying?

The promise of Psalm 23 which says that the Lord will lead us, refresh us, guide us, and protect us, is found in Jesus Christ. God sent his Son Jesus into our world to be the the human (yet divine) evidence of the one we can follow in life. The one who will lead us and lift us up when we need to be lifted up.

One of the most memorable pictures in a children’s Bible story book is that of Jesus holding a lamb. That picture represents how the good shepherd will care for his sheep. As the prophet Isaiah said, “He holds them close to his heart.” That is why Jesus tells in John 10 that he is that good shepherd for us. If we follow, he will lead and will be there for us when we need him.

It is amazing how this truth can affect our everyday lives and attitude. In today’s Our Daily Bread devotional Marion Stroud shares about two elderly women he went to visit from time to time. He said that one of them had no financial worries, she was fit for her age, and lived in her own home that was probably paid for. But he said that she could always find something negative to say.

The other elderly woman was crippled with arthritis and rather forgetful. He said that she lived in a very small and simple apartment and had to keep a reminder pad so that she could remember her different appointments. When he would visit her she would always say, “God is so good to me.” One time when he was handing her the reminder pad he noticed what she had written the day before, “Out to lunch tomorrow! Wonderful! Another happy day.”

At first thought this story might be about our attitudes in various circumstances. But I read it and thought about one sheep who is content in following her shepherd and another who is perhaps straying outside of his care. When sheep get away from the shepherd they get worried, stressed, and become unhappy. Those who stay close find the things that Psalm 23 promises from the Lord.

When Jesus said, “I Am the Good Shepherd” he was providing us a way to peace, security, and contentment in a world that is filled with wolves, thieves, and robbers. The way to find this contentment is through Jesus and abiding in his presence. May that be our focus. May Jesus be our shepherd.

Make it personal: Try to find all of the references to sheep and shepherds that are listed in your Bible. The concordance in the back of your Bible or an online search may help you to realize this very evident picture that is provided for us in scripture. After that renew your trust in Jesus as your shepherd in this life.

Have a blessed week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church