The Shepherd

Ok, so this post won’t be so much a “debatable” topic. But I would like some feedback and input from all of you reading this. This is something I have been enjoying from scripture and I want to have some more input from others.

I’ve been enjoying the title of Christ as “The Shepherd”. Let’s look at some examples:

The Good Shepherd

Verse:
John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep”

The Good Shepherd is revealed to us with the distinction of “giving his life for the sheep.” The Good Shepherd is the revelation of Christ as the one who will suffer and die on behalf of sinners. What a marvel that is to those who have come into the good of that. And what an invitation to those that are yet outside of God’s goodness in salvation. Isaiah 53:6 says “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.” But thankfully that is not where the verse ends. It would be a sad truth indeed (yes still truth) if the verse ended there. Comparing men/women/boys/girls to sheep that have lost their way, know nothing of safety, are out in the open prime for attack and in grave peril. How defenseless we are in reality. But the rest of the verse reads “and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Praise the Good Shepherd!

Now, what I find marvelous is the connection we have to the Psalm of David in Psalms 22. Many would know of the prophetic nature of this Psalm in what David wrote. The first verse was the cry of Christ that broke the silence after he bore the sin of the world, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” This is the Psalm of The Good Shepherd who gives his life for the sheep. David beautifully wrote of The Good Shepherd in this prophetic Psalm of the cross. The suffering of the savior was so immense that had he not been the Son of God the emotional suffering alone would have killed him; not to mention the sixth to the ninth hour of complete darkness when God the Father punished God the Son for sin that was not His.

That is our Good Shepherd.

The Great Shepherd

Verse:
Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

We saw that The Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep but Christ is also called The Great Shepherd. What is the difference? The aspect of Christ that the Great Shepherd brings before us is the one who cares for his sheep. The verses above tells us that God is working in us to make us “perfect” or complete unto the things that are well pleasing in His sight! Is this through ourselves God is doing this? No, this is through the Great Shepherd! Something I always enjoyed about Christ is in Isaiah 9:6 we see “and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” Notice, his shoulder here is singular. But what about the story of the shepherd who sees that one of his 100 sheep has wandered and gone missing. He leaves the 99 sheep and goes to find the one that was lost. In Luke 15:5 we see the result, “And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” When Christ finds the lost sheep he returns with that sheep on his shoulders. Plural. Eternal security in the Great Shepherd that cares for his sheep! No matter what comes into our lives we can be rest assured that the Great Shepherd is leading and guiding us to make us complete unto the things that are well pleasing in God’s sight.

The Good Shepherd could be tied to Psalm 22 so perfectly but what about the Great Shepherd? I think at the word shepherd most of our minds when to one of the most famous Psalms in the Bible. Psalm 23 starts out “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” Read through the 23rd Psalm and keep in mind Christ as the Great Shepherd! One who brings us to green pastures and still waters, restoring our souls, leading in righteous paths, always with us, our comfort, preparing tables, overflowing our cups, and inviting us to stay in His house forever! I love verse 6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” There is so much more to this Psalm than I am pointing on in this post but I really enjoy seeing The Great Shepherd who cares for us in every circumstance and trial in our lives. No matter what we are going through or how we feel we can say “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” We live in the house of the Great Shepherd who cares for his sheep!

That is our Great Shepherd!

The Chief Shepherd

Verse:
1 Peter 5:4 “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

So what about the Chief Shepherd? Peter was writing here in chapter 5 to the elders in the local churches that received this letter to encourage and exhort them to take extra care in tending to the flock (the local churches). The Chief Shepherd is the one who owns all the flock(s). In The Chief Shepherd we are reminded of the eternal reign of Christ. This is significant for church elders because their work will be rewarded by The Chief Shepherd by a crown of glory that is eternal! This is significant to everyone because everything we do for Christ is not lost! There is no other king or ruler. Christ is eternal and will give each saved person an everlasting crown of glory when he appears again! That should give us all motivation to do what we can for him! Because it is worth all of eternity!

Now, just like the Good Shepherd and Great Shepherd, by now you are expecting a Psalm connection. Thankfully, the Spirit of God (I think) gave one of those too! Look at Psalm 24 as verse 1 about sums it up, ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Everything here is Christs, whether you accept it or not 🙂 Over and over we are reminded to “Lift up your heads!” Why? Because of the King of Glory. It reminds me of that Third Day song (which this is where they got the lyrics from haha). “Who is this King of Glory?” I love the answer in verse 10, “The Lord of hosts, He is the King of Glory.” Let us give thanks for the Chief Shepherd that reminds us of His eternal reign! I hope that is an encouragement to you as it is to me. To serve the Chief Shepherd who is the reigning King of Glory forever and ever and gives rewards of crowns of glory that never fade!

That is our Chief Shepherd.

I am thankful I am purchased by the Good Shepherd, cared for by the Great Shepherd, and serving the Chief Shepherd!

~Rob

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5 responses to “The Shepherd

  1. Hey Rob!

    Sorry I never actually posted my response on your page here. Here are a few thoughts for you:

    1- (like I had mentioned to you previously) Could Psalm 23 be literal? If it could be viewed literally–why or why not? In expatiated terms, what would this look like do you think? Also, if viewed as figurative language, what would it look like for God to “lead us by still waters” or “make us lie in green pastures”? These are just little topics your entry made me think about.

    2- If Peter is writing to the elders of the “local flocks” in regards to receiving a “crown of glory” from the “chief shepherd,” then how can we each individually, as the whole body of Christ, who are not all elders, look forward to receiving “crown[s] of glory”?

    -Mary

    • Hey Mary! Sorry it took me so long to reply 🙂

      1) I’m not entirely sure as to what you mean by it being literal. Like the Lord leading us to walk along the banks of a calm lake or on a physical path of righteousness. I guess my answer would be these are all spiritual metaphors. Another really cool study of Psalm 23 would be to pin some of the names of God to the things described. A little teaser:
      Vs 1 – Jehovah-Ro’i = The Lord my Shepherd
      Vs 1 – Jehovah-Jireh = The Lord will provide
      Vs 2 – Jehovah-Shalom = The Lord is Peace
      Vs 3 – Jehovah-Repheka = The Lord who heals
      Vs 3 – Jehovah-Tsidkenu = The Lord our Righteousness
      Vs 4 – Jehovah-Shammah = The Lord is there
      Vs 5 – Jehovah-Nissi = The Lord our Banner
      Vs 6 – Jehovah-Maccaddeshcem = The Lord who sanctifies

      2) This is what we refer to as “The Judgment Seat of Christ”. Some scriptures that point to this event are Romans 14:10, 2 Corinthians 5:10. The New Testament is filled with references to a future reward (the two above, 1 John 2:28, Rev 3:11-12, etc). Christianity is certainly a lifestyle and salvation is a gift. But we will be rewarded in heaven based upon our obedience to what God has said and how faithful we were to Him.

      1 Corinthians 3:10-15 tells us of a day where everything we “built” will be tested and everything that was not for God will be burned up and lost. But for things that survive we will receive a reward. What a motivation to live for Christ only! Living selfishly will be noticed on that day when my life would be burned up and I have a small pile to be rewarded for and a small crown to lay at the feet of Christ. Oh that I might strive to consecrate my entire life to Him!

  2. Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending way to much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!

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