A Good Shepherd

When you hear the term ‘shepherd’, what images pop into your mind? For me, I immediately think of someone who is on constant watch over helpless, weak animals. Someone who guards, guides, nurtures and protects these vulnerable animals from predators and all forms of danger.
Pastors are shepherds; under-shepherds. They serve under the True Shepherd, the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ (Ps. 23:1; John 10:14; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet 5:4). As you can imagine, shepherds encounter many dangers as sheep attract the most aggressive predators on earth. And why shouldn’t they? They’re easy targets; an easy meal. But a true shepherd stands ready to fight for his sheep; to fend off all predators despite their vicious tendencies and aggression. He knows what dangers constantly surround his flock so he maintains a constant guard ready and willing to give the ultimate sacrifice if necessary to protect and guard his flock.
Interestingly, when you research the word ‘shepherd’ on dictionary.com, here’s what you will find: “a person who herds, tends, and guards sheep; a person who protects, guides, or watches over a person or group of people; a member of the clergy; the Shepherd, Jesus Christ.” I find it very interesting in today’s day and age, especially on a public web site, that Jesus Christ would be acknowledged as the Shepherd. The one who guards and protects and guides. The is a very exclusive, specific term delegated to identify a specific person or thing. Just one. Not many. Just…ONE (John 14:6).
This is what we see in Scripture: Jesus as The One, true Shepherd Who was not only willing to lay down His life for the sheep, but Who actually did so (John 10:11-15; Phil. 2:1-8). He willingly went into the enemies den (Matt. 20:17-19; 21:1-11; Mark 10:32-34; 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 18:4). He went where danger lurked; violence, pain, torture, hatred and suffering was eminent; death was assured. And why? Because of you and me. Our sin put Jesus on the cross. We hammered the nails. We secured the crown of thorns. We had as much of a part in His scourging as the Roman soldiers of that day. We thrust the spear through His side (Is. 53:4-6). And because there was no other way (Acts 4:12; Rom. 8:1-4; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 7:11-10:25).
My prayer and hope for us all this week is that we don’t “fast-forward” to Resurrection Sunday and forget about this week’s events that ultimately led to our celebration of His resurrection. Don’t forget what the True Shepherd did for you and for me.

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