Summary: Our name is upon His lips and engraved upon His palms. That’s how significant we are to Him. Rest in His love for you.
When we look at a flock of sheep, we see exactly that - a big flock. That’s all. I don’t see a sheep. I see sheep. All alike. None different.
But not so with the Shepherd. To Him, every sheep has a name. The one with thick white wool, that’s Amos. And the one with one ear up and the other down, that’s Simon. And the small one with a black patch on his led, he’s an orphan with no brothers. I call him Joseph. Verse 3 "He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out."
When I see a crowd, I see exactly that - a crowd. A mass of people. You go into Chinatown the last few days, you see a mass of people - not persons, but people. A herd of humans. That’s all we see.
But not so with the Shepherd. To him every face is different. Every face is a story. Every face is a child. They are His own. Every child has a name. The one with long hair, that’s Sally. The short and fat one, he’s an orphan with no brothers, I call him Harry.
Pets - Fish tank, small aquarium at home. Suppose you see this man, looking into his fish tank and tells you their names and behaviours, what does that tells you?
That’s how our Lord Jesus sees us. He knows His sheep - not the flock, but the sheep. He knows each one by name. That is why the Lord says in the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:4), "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?" The obvious answer is YES! He will! And the amazing thing about this is that, despite the large number - 100 sheep, the Shepherd will know that one is missing. Why? Because He does not look at the flock, but the sheep. Every one matters. Every one is precious.
LOOK AROUND YOU. We’ve about 30 of us here today. Do you see a crowd? And just a mass of people? Or do you see faces that you know and truly appreciate? LOOK AROUND TODAY. Is there anyone you can’t call, because you do not know his or her name?
That’s not with God. The Lord says in Isaiah 49:16a "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." Amazing! "Engraved". Cannot be taken off. Your name is on God’s hand.
We learnt that He calls us by name. Your name is upon His lips. And Isaiah tells us your name is on His palm.
Have you seen your name in some special places? Maybe. On a certificate or diploma. Maybe on a foundation stone, if you are the founder of a corporation. Or maybe you’ve heard your name mentioned by some important people - your school principal, by a famous star. How do you feel? Very honoured. Very special.
THINK FOR A MOMENT - my name is on God’s lips, and on God’s hand? Can it be?
Perhaps for some of us, you’ve never seen your name honoured. You felt neglected. You can’t remember the last time someone mentioned your name with kindness. If so, it may be difficult for you to believe that God knows your name.
The truth is, He does. Written on his hand. Spoken by His mouth. He knows all about you. He made you.
Look into the life of Jesus and we’ll find out more:
€ John 1:40-42 "40Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). 42And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter).
€ John 1:45-49 45Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote - Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." 46"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip. 47When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false." 48"How do you know me?" Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you." 49Then Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."
€ Luke 19:1-6 1Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today."