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January 22, 2014

The Shepherd Work of Christ Part 2

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want… 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; 

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.”  

Psalm 23:1,6 (NKJV)

When you make the Shepherd the Lord of your life, the Lord becomes your Shepherd!  That’s why the psalmist could conclude Psalm 23 with such confidence and comfort. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!” The New Testament fills us in on all that Jesus does for His Sheep that provides for us in both time and eternity!  

First, as the Good Shepherd, Jesus died for His sheep. In contrast to someone who was just hired to watch over a flock that may run when trouble comes threatening the safety and welfare of the sheep, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:11 (NIV) That’s what a good shepherd does, and that is what Jesus did for us as our good Shepherd. He laid down His life to save us from the ravages of sin and Satan. His death for us delivers us from death and offers us eternal life with forgiveness of sin! What a good Shepherd!

Second, as the Great Shepherd, Jesus lives for His sheep. As the Good Shepherd, Jesus laid down His life for the sheep; but as the Great Shepherd He rose again from the dead to offer us eternal life, His life, to enable us and equip us to live a new quality of life that has no other explanation but that of the Great Shepherd indwelling His sheep!  The Book of Hebrews closes out with this encouraging benediction: May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 (NIV)

Third, as the Chief Shepherd, Jesus will return for all His sheep! Peter closes out his brief letter in 1 Peter with the joyful anticipation of the second coming of Jesus Christ.  His return will not be as the Good Shepherd to die again but as the reigning and ruling Lord to reward His faithful followers with a crown of glory that will never fade away! He refers to Jesus in this regard as the Chief Shepherd! And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” 1 Peter 5:4 (NIV)

When you consider the Shepherd work of Christ in your life, you see that Jesus covers your past, present and future needs! He died for you, He lives in you and He’s coming again for you! Wow! What a Shepherd! Go ahead and shout it with the psalmist, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!”