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Jesus, The Good Shepherd June 21, 2010

Posted by theronwatson in Uncategorized.
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John 10:1-18
Who takes care of you? When we were children, we looked to our parents for affection and attention. They met the needs we had for food, shelter, clothing, etc. If our biological parents did not meet these needs, we looked to someone else or some other benevolent souls came into our lives with the care we needed. People do what they can to care for others. Parents care for their children; whether they are their own offspring or not. Husbands and wives care for each other. Nurses care for the sick. Teachers care for their students. Pastors care for their congregations. But, no one cares for us like God can.
The “Shepherd” is a common theme throughout the Bible. It is an image that is well understood in the Biblical world. Even now, as I find myself deployed to Iraq, I recognize the importance of shepherds and herders. In fact, this morning on the bus ride to work I saw two young men herding outside the fence. They both carried sticks with which they moved the herd around the canal and into the green, grassy area. Their goal was obvious, to get the herd to the grass to graze before the hot sun scorched it and it disappeared. They were caring for their herd.
Moses was a shepherd. David was a shepherd. They led their herds to the grassy areas and to find water. Sheep cannot care for themselves. In fact, sheep are quite helpless. They have difficulty standing back up if they fall. They drown easily. They have no natural defenses against predators. They require constant care and defense. That is the role of the shepherd. Now, the owner and the shepherd are sometimes different people, but the shepherd is the one appointed to care for the sheep. If they are not his sheep, he loses nothing if harm comes to them. But a good shepherd would not let that happen. A good shepherd guards his sheep with his life. David describes how he defended his sheep against attacks by bears and lions. Long before firearms, he used a club and a sling to defend them. In the beloved 23rd Psalm, David speaks of a rod and a staff. The rod was a stick or club about two feet long that was used to defend the sheep but also to hit them to
move them in the right direction. It was an instrument of correction and guidance. The staff on the other hand was the shepherd’s crook. It was a long staff with a hook on one end that could be used to hook sheep that had fallen into a hole or pit. The crook was an instrument of care and provision.
Jesus is the Shepherd. No one cares for us like Jesus. The basic necessities of man can be met by man. We can feed and clothe ourselves. We build shelters. We work and make money to get the things we need and want. But, there is one all consuming need that mankind has that we cannot meet, what do we do in order to get to heaven when we die. Who takes care of that need? Only Jesus can. Jesus is the only Gate. Anyone else who has ever called themselves the way has been wrong. Only Jesus is the Way. Others have attempted to lead people astray, they were not the true Shepherd. They came only to make a profit regardless of what it cost others and lead others away from the true Shepherd. Only Jesus provides life. And, not just “a” life, life. And, not just life, but abundant life.
Only Jesus laid His life down for His sheep and He did so willingly that we might be able to live with Him in heaven someday. When we are part of Jesus’ flock, we know it. There is a certainty that comes with being a Christian. I know that I belong to Jesus. I know that I have a relationship with Him. You can too. You can know you are His when you know His presence. It abides within, in a spiritual sense. When He speaks to you, you simply know it. There is no magical power or knowledge that comes with it. But instead, a presence that cannot be explained with words.
Who cares for you? You don’t have to care for yourself alone. Invite Jesus to come into your life. Become part of His flock. Let Him care for you as no one and nothing else can.
Jesus cares for you.

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