The Shepherd Part 3

The Bible depicts the church in many different ways, including a family and a place for fellowship, but it is also a flock.

Psalm 100:3 – Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

John 10:10 – “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly. (Verse 11) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. (Verse 12) “But he who is a hireling and not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.

(Verse 13) “The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. (Verse 14) “I am the good shepherd, and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”

Sheep can’t do much without a shepherd.

A good shepherd provides.

Psalm 23:1 – The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (The word “want” in the Hebrew means “lack.” I shall not lack.) (Verse 2) He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. (Verse 3) He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

The Lord is a shepherd so He’s a provider. He always provides what we need. The Jews wanted a political leader, but they needed a Savior. The first step in believing He’s our provider is bringing the tithe to the house of God. Under, “He’s a provider,” is “He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters.”

Green pastures and still waters: Every believer’s life should be characterized by these two things: Contentment and peace! Green pastures for sheep would be contentment. And still waters represent peace. We sit by the still waters in worship and eat from the green pastures during the Word. This is one of the reasons why we attend church.

“He makes me lie down.” Has God ever had to make you lie down? Are you a person that always has to be doing something? Do you always have to be busy? It’s alright to stop and be still by still waters. It’s alright to do nothing once in a while and just take in calmness.

He restores. 

“He restores my soul.” Our mind, will, and emotions. When something bad happens, we can be crushed. It’s the Lord that restores our soul, mind, will, and emotions from the stress.

He leads. 

“He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” We’re put in right standing through grace, but I also want to walk in right standing with God. I want to be pleasing to the Lord, don’t you? I need His leading and guidance.

Shepherds don’t “drive” sheep, they lead them. Yes, sometimes they herd them with sheepdogs, but the best way is to lead them. Did you know that each shepherd has a way of calling his own sheep? The sheep will only follow the voice they know. And Jesus said, “My sheep know My voice!” His true sheep will only follow Him.

A good shepherd protects the flock.

Psalm 23:4 – Yea, 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. (Verse 5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

Death is the biggest fear of humans. Jesus takes the biggest fear we have an annihilates it. Why? Because He conquered death at the cross!

Jesus is with us in the battle.

“For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Why would His rod and staff comfort us? Because He doesn’t use His rod and His staff on us! He doesn’t hit the sheep. He hits the wolf, the enemy! What’s the wolf afraid of? He’s afraid of the shepherd. He’s not afraid of us. A wolf is not afraid of the sheep. He’s afraid of the Shepherd and that’s why we stay right beside the Shepherd and don’t wander off!

He blesses us in the battle. 

Psalm 23:5 – You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; We would prefer that He prepares a table for us “after” He kills our enemies. However, He does it while in the presence of them. Why? Because He’s not afraid of the enemy. And sometimes He calms the turmoil around us and sometimes He just calms the sheep. 

He refreshes us in the battle.

(Verse 5) You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. The effects of oil represent two things in Scripture: refreshing and strength. The Holy Spirit refreshes us and strengthens us! In the midst of the battle, we are refreshed and strengthened. Jesus fills us until it runs over!

He promises.

(Verse 6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell int the house of the LORD forever.

Goodness, mercy, and eternal life. These are promises from the Lord. That is what our Shepherd promises every believer. In Hebrew, the word follow means “Chase!” Surely goodness and mercy shall “chase” me! God’s goodness and mercy will catch you if you just stop running.

1 John 2:25 – And this is the promise that He has promised us – eternal life. 

Hebrews 10:23 – Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Ezekiel 34:12 – “As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.”

Think about that verse: Do you remember in Scripture that it said how dark it got the day Jesus was crucified? The Good Shepherd gave his life for the scattered sheep on a cloudy and dark day! Amen!!

 

 

Jesus, the Human

The last study, part 1, was on Jesus the builder, even before He walked the earth and is still a builder today. However, this is the only aspect that Jesus was while on the earth that He is not now – human. He was, however, a human for thirty-three and one-half years He knows what it is like to be us. Jesus did not settle for the illusion of identification. He became a human; He was born; He was a toddler; He was in a family; He went to work, like all of us.

Hebrews 2:14 – Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil. (NLT version) Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form.

So even though He was human while on this earth, how does that help us today? Hebrews 2:17 – Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (Verse 18) For in that He Himself suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. 

Because Jesus was tempted in all things, He is able to help us in our temptations and weaknesses.

Hebrews 4:15, 16 – For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Verse 16) Let us, therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

As our High Priest, Jesus was tempted in all points which makes Him merciful and sympathetic to our temptations and needs. When a person can sympathize with us, immediately there is a bond because they know how we feel or how we struggle. Jesus was tempted in all areas and all points. He understands how we feel! Don’t ever think that our Lord and Savior doesn’t know what we go through because He lived it yet without sin.

Satan tries to convince people that they are worse than anyone else. He will tell people nobody is as bad as them. That’s how he keeps people from even going to the house of God. He tells them that they are so bad that they shouldn’t even try to go and sit among the righteous. He lies because he is the father of lies. However, Jesus says, “Come. I understand who you are and what you’ve done. Come to my throne of mercy and grace and receive forgiveness!”

Because Jesus was human: Jesus understands relationships.

Mark 6:3 – “Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” And they were offended at him.

So we know He had four brothers and at least two sisters, maybe more. He knew what it was like to have siblings. He also understood what it was like to be single and can sympathize, if need be,  with those who are. But here’s the amazing thing:

He even knows and understands marriage. Even though He was never married in the sense of literally having a wife, yet He does. The Bride of Christ! The church is who Jesus is married to. So yes, He understands marriage and what it means to be faithful, committed, and dedicated. One step further – He knows what it’s like for His spouse to be unfaithful! He also knows what it’s like to have children and even disobedient children! There is nothing that we can’t talk to Him about. He understands what it’s like to have a family.

Mark 3:31 – Then His brothers and His mother came and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. (Verse 32) And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.” (Verse 33) But He answered them saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” (Verse 34) And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! (Verse 35) “For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”

Have you ever felt that even though you have blood family but they are not really family? Why did Jesus not get up and go to his family? But remember what His family did to Him in Mark 3:21 – But when His own people (family) heard about this, they went out to lay (seize) hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.” They said He was crazy!

Has your family ever thought you were something you’re not? Jesus said the ones that do the will of My Father are His family, so He understands when our own family disowns us. It doesn’t matter because as believers we have a more loving family and a heavenly Father that understands and loves us.

Jesus also understands when all of our friends desert us when we need them the most, as some family members do. He understands what it’s like to be betrayed by a close friend. There is nothing that’s going on in our lives that we can’t talk to him about.

Jesus understands work.

Jesus worked as a carpenter longer than He was in the ministry. He understands hard work. Tradition says He probably started with His father at twelve years old and worked until He was thirty. I imagine He was in excellent shape and only God and He knew what all He built. And He more than likely had callouses and blisters on His hands.

He also knew what it was like to own His own business. He knows what it’s like to work with or for lost people who lie and cheat. He also knew and knows what it’s like with church people who lie and cheat. There is nothing about our work we can’t talk to Him about.

Jesus understands pain.

We all go through pain, emotional and physical. We’ve all had both. Look at the emotional pain at this verse: Isaiah 53:3 – He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

And physical pain: Isaiah 53:5 – But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes, we were healed.

Jesus was mocked and despised because of Him being a carpenter, His birth, being a Jew so He knows what it’s like to be mocked and ridiculed. Jesus was beaten by three different garrisons of guards; they plucked His beard; they not only beat Him with their fists but with rods; they drove a crown of thorns down on His head; they flogged Him over and over; they nailed spikes in His wrists and feet; and then hung Him on a cross until He died. He was tortured to death!

So please don’t ever think our precious Jesus doesn’t understand physical pain, because He knows more pain than you or I will ever go through in this life!

Think about this: Joseph, Jesus’ father, died at some point during Jesus life. Jesus could have raised His earthly father from the dead, but He didn’t. Do you think maybe it was so that He would know how it felt to lose a parent in order to be sympathetic toward us when we lose a parent?

Jesus knows our emotions and what we go through with physical pain, so go to Him, He understands.

 

 

Jesus, The Same Yesterday, Today, & Forever Part 1

The Builder

What was Jesus’ occupation when He lived on this earth? Mark 6:3 – “Is this not the carpenter…”

Carpenter in the Creek – tekton/tek-tone. One who uses various materials (wood, stone, and metal) in building – builder, carpenter. There is every reason to believe that in Biblical times one who was regarded as a Tekton would be skilled in the use of wood and stone possibly even metal.

Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If Jesus was a builder when He was on this earth, do you think He’s still a builder today? Do you think He has a plan, a blueprint for our lives? Also, when Jesus was on this earth, He was a Teacher. Does He still teach us today?

Jesus also was a healer! Does He still heal today? If Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then all these attributes of Jesus can be claimed for today!

Yesterday

Is God the God of the past? I hope so. Just because someone has a bad past, it’s no indication they have a bad future. God is eternal, so He’s God of the past also.

Hebrews 11:3 – By faith, we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

The word “framed” is a building term. Jesus is the word, Jesus framed the worlds. Think about this: The earth is the exact distance from the sun in order for us to have life. However, He didn’t just frame the world: Psalm 139:15 – My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret… David wrote that, talking about when he was yet in the womb! God made our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual frame.

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the thoughts that I have toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God has a good plan for our lives no matter what a person has gone through in the past. He is the Master builder and has it all laid out perfectly!

Here is the problem with our past, it hurts and tries to affect our future. We can either run from our past or learn from it, but don’t wallow in it! God can take our past and can build it into a good future.

Today

Jesus is still a builder today. Luke 19:9 – And Jesus said to him (Zacchaeus), “Today salvation has come to this house,…” 2 Corinthians 6:2 – For He says, “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.”Behold now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. God is a God of today! When God speaks to us, He wants a commitment that day.

Deuteronomy 11:2 – “Know today that I did not speak with your children,…” Deuteronomy 11:8 – “Therefore you shall keep every commandment which I have commanded you today,…” Deuteronomy11:13 – “And it shall be that if you diligently obey My commandments which I command you today…”

God is still speaking to us today just like He spoke to the children of Israel through His prophets in the past. Only today He speaks directly to us. When He speaks we have a choice whether or not to obey His word.

Deuteronomy 26:17 – “Today you have proclaimed the LORD to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice.

So when the Lord speaks, we obey, and He works out the details. That’s His commitment to us. What we do today, will determine our tomorrow!

Forever

Matthew 16:18 – “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

1 Peter 2:5 – you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. We are His church, living stones. If a person refuses to obey what God has said today, they stop the building process. He’s the God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, our future. He has an awesome plan for each of our lives!

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever!