The Good Shepherd

by May 1, 2017

In John 10:11 Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd.” Why give that metaphor? What was he teaching about himself? I’m sure that right when he said that people would have thought of Psalm 23. A shepherd named David wrote Psalm 23. He began that psalm by saying that God, in fact, was his shepherd. If Jesus makes the same connection to himself, then what does God, our good shepherd, do for us?

The Good Shepherd Provides
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. When Jesus looked at the crowds of people around him in Matthew 9, it says that he had compassion for them because they were harasses and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Helpless might have been sugar-coating it. When a sheep got cast down on it’s back, it couldn’t get up on it’s own. It could die in a matter of hours! The Good Shepherd would need to be watching his sheep 24/7 so that he could restore them if they got cast down. Is there any way that you feel cast down and helpless? Any situation at work? With your husband or wife? Is there something that you want to happen so badly but you just feel helpless to bring it about? The Good Shepherd restores your soul; he will provide exactly what you need.

The Good Shepherd Guides
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. If sheep are left to themselves, they will wonder off. We are just like they. As the song says, “Prone to wonder, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” Thankfully, our Good Shepherd guides us daily. Through his word and by his spirit, God is constantly guiding us in paths of righteousness. He has shown and is showing us the way to live that will glorify him. Unfortunately we resist it sometimes. Like an infant not wanting to eat, we push our lips together or spit most of God’s Word out when we hear it, instead of chewing it and letting it effect our lives. In Psalm 25, David prayed that God would show him the right path, and then he said that he’d wait all day for God to show him. David wasn’t going to move until God made his path known. Are you praying, begging God to make his path known to you? The Good Shepherd will guide you.

The Good Shepherd Comforts
Even 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. Whatever this valley was that David was going through, it wasn’t just a difficult time in life; it was the worst. It was the shadow of death. And in that of all valleys, David was comforted that God was with him. Maybe you aren’t going through the valley of the shadow of death right now in life, but you are going through a valley. Quick: what do you feel helpless about in life? What do you feel desperate about? That’s probably your valley. Maybe you’re in a valley of being overworked and it feels exhausting. You can’t remember the last time you had a full day off where you didn’t have to do something to keep up with the demands of your job. Maybe you’re in a valley of parenting and it feels helpless, and you have crying, needy babies constantly and older kids with the expectations put on them by their school and sports and dance classes and everyone else’s kid is more well behaved than yours. Maybe you’re in a valley of finances and it feels depressing. You’re not nearly as far along as you’d like to be, you don’t have enough saved for the next stage in life, or even next month. Maybe you’re just in the valley of not having a relationship with God and it’s terrifying. You know deep down inside that God is there and loves you and wants you to talk to him, to trust him, and you’ve buried it and are trying to ignore it. Whatever your valley is, your Good Shepherd is right there with you, ready to comfort you.

The Good Shepherd Revives
You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. This is even better than comfort. The Good Shepherd lifted David up; he revived him. He was just in the valley of the shadow of death, and now he’s talking about goodness and mercy and living with God forever. What an amazing turnaround! Jesus wants to revive you; to give you new life. Look at what he says in John 10: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 

Is Jesus your Good Shepherd? Is he providing for you, guiding you, comforting you, and reviving you?