Christ - the Good ShepherdBro. David Chancellor
8/15/1999 6:00 PM
This is a familiar, often-quoted passage. "The LORD is my shepherd..." If we have the Lord as our shepherd many good things are to be had for us. The shepherd watches out for the sheep, he feeds the sheep. Christ supplies our needs; he protects AND PROVIDES for whatever we need. The thought of green pastures is it is fresh and pleasing for the sheep - good feed. The Good Shepherd restores the soul. He helps us day by day. "Yea, THOUGH I WALK THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death..." If the troubling times come we shouldn't fear if we have God with us. If we have God with us we can know we'll make it. We don't have to focus on the enemies if God is there with us. Sometimes the good things are in a dangerous place, but with the Shepherd there you don't have to worry about the dangers - just get the good. Why would anyone want a different shepherd? He is the greatest Shepherd mankind could ever have.
Note the contrast between this and the twenty-third Psalm. God asks... "Why are you looking out for yourselves, but not for the flock? Why are you ruling with force and cruelty?" God said he had allowed them to do certain things but they had taken advantage of it. So God reclaimed the position of Shepherd. Men may rule in a way that won't meet the needs of the sheep, but God isn't that way. He is a good Shepherd. God will require the maltreatment of the flock at the shepherd's hand, but he didn't leave the situation as it was. Our mission is that others be strengthened and fed and helped. God is calling us to lift up his name and feed and draw people to him. Christ came to meet the needs of humanity. When God is the Shepherd it makes a difference in the condition of the sheep. God is opposed to those that are taking advantage of others. The ones that abuse their fellowservants will be destroyed. God wants to bind up, heal, strengthen and encourage. He will be the Shepherd. Man may try to do it his way, but we don't have to go that way. We can go God's way.
The shepherds in Ezekiel weren't meeting the needs of the sheep. Jesus comes and fulfills. God did indeed take charge of the sheep. The shepherds in Ezekiel were giving sheep for their lives. Christ gave his life for the sheep that we might profit. When it comes to looking out for God's sheep - there's no need for hirelings. There is ONE FOLD and ONE SHEPHERD - the Lord is the only shepherd for his only church. Mankind sometimes thinks that he is the shepherd, but a man can't take the place of the shepherd. There is only one shepherd. If the pastor starts giving his ideas it won't feed the soul of man. We have to come under the ONE shepherd. The sheep belong to him. As long as we follow him we won't lack for anything. If we follow man's ideas, opinions and directives, we'll end up weak and wanting. Christ is our shepherd and we need to keep our eyes on him. You won't have one fold until you have just one shepherd. Men divide and separate. The Old Testament was there to prepare us for the New Testament and the one shepherd. When the going gets tough Christ will be there. We may not feel him there, but we can know he is there. He is the one that can bring us through.
Get up and proclaim "Behold your God..." We want people to see and consider the God of all creation. Can you see God at work in your life? or are you following someone else? Is the Lord your shepherd? Is he providing the direction for your life? We need Christ as our personal Shepherd. The "undersheperd" is a dog. Therefore those who would claim to be the "undersheperd" are claiming the high title of "dog" - we just trust that they won't be "dumb dogs" who won't speak the word of the Lord. God does send those to speak for him, but we need to hear the words of God. It is much better to have the shepherd than the dog. A good dog will follow the commands of the shepherd, but has no appreciation for good grass. The shepherd finds that which is beneficial for the sheep. Christ can carry and protect when no one else can and can carry however many need to be carried. He could carry the whole flock at once if necessary. He will supply our needs whenever we have need. He won't leave us lacking.
1 Peter 5:1-4
Peter's thought was "feed the flock... be a help. Our mission is to be a help. Willingly do what you can, not for money, but seeking to be a help. Be an example, not lording what you have over others. Christ is a picture of an example. He put himself out. Peter saw the example and partook also. God would have us look out for the needs of others. If you are a good and willing and ready example, you will receive a good reward, a crown of glory. We need to help others find the Shepherd we've found.
1 Peter 2:21-25
"but ye are returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls"... He suffered, left an example that we could follow in his steps... "who did no sin and no guile was found in his mouth..." We need to be like this. We need to forgive, not threaten when suffering, not reviling, but committing ourselves to God and letting him work. Unless the guilty repent they'll face it in the end. Can we commit ourselves to the righteous judge? We were as sheep going astray, but are now returned to Christ. Those that follow Christ shall not want. We don't want to settle for less. Why follow man who really doesn't care? Let God be your shepherd. He can help in all situations. He is a wonderful and good shepherd.