Monday, April 4, 2016
The 10th Chapter of the gospel of John is a great resource for better understanding the relationship between Christ and His sheep. When David wrote his famous 23rd Psalm, he began by saying “The Lord is my Shepherd” which obviously implied that he was the Lord’s sheep. All of God’s true children can say the same. Additionally, this same chapter is an excellent resource for any pastor or anyone who serves in a pastoral capacity who is truly interested in wanting to be more like the Good Shepherd. They understand that the closer they come to reaching that goal, the better it will be for their ministry and especially for the members of the Lord’s flock.
We will begin our focus today on the 10th verse where Jesus said: “I am the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Note that I only capitalized when referring to Christ and did not capitalize afterwards because I wanted to emphasize that any true shepherd (pastor) should be willing, just like He, to lay down his life for his sheep. Peter learned this lesson first hand when given the commission to lead the rest of the Disciples upon Jesus’ ascension into Heaven. He learned that in order lead them correctly and effectively, he would have to love them as dearly as he loved His Master. He realized that if he loved Christ with all his heart, he would love the those under his charge in the same manner. Any person who occupies a pastoral position and does not love his sheep with all his heart, has no business or no right to do so. That was Jesus’ assertion to the opposing religious Jewish leaders of His day who thought they were the true pastors of God’s people and not He. In fact, in the very first verse in the Chapter, Christ implied that they were thieves and robbers because they did not enter the sheep pen through the gate but climbed in some other way. Another thing that disqualified them was that they really had no love for the sheep.
Here are two quick examples of men who a Shepherd’s heart. (1) David fought off and killed a lion and a bear who tried to attack his father’s sheep. (See 1 Samuel 17:32-36) Would David have done the same if this was not his father’s flock or if he had no love for the sheep? The answer is obvious. (2) Moses, upon hearing God’s threat to completely wipe out His stubborn and rebellious people, stood up on their behalf risking his life for them by daring to reason with the Lord and succeeding in the midst of His great wrath. (See Exodus 32:9-14) I think we will be hearing more about these two who truly had a shepherd’s heart as we will continue on this topic tomorrow, or Wednesday should something arise to prevent me from doing so. I trust you’ll join us then.
Memory verse for the week: (Jeremiah 3:15) “Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.”