Summary: Jesus continues to boldly state his equality with God by proclaiming to be the most excellent shepherd of all.
The clock is my dictator, I shall not rest.
It makes me lie down only when exhausted.
It leads me into deep depression.
It hounds my soul.
It leads me in circles of frenzy, for activities sake.
Even though I run frantically from task to task, I will never get it all done, For my ideal is with me.
Deadlines and my need for approval, they drive me.
They demand performance from me, beyond the limits of my schedule.
They anoint my head with migraines,
My in-basket overflows.
Surely fatigue and time pressures shall follow me
All the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the bonds of frustration
Contributed By: Merv Budd
This time of year it seems we are dictated by the clock at work and at home. We are busy with the holidays and shopping. Let’s stop for a moment this morning and spend some time with the good shepherd.
Jesus has been revealing himself as being one with God more boldly. He has been using the Hebrew name for God in reference to himself. He has declared himself to be the sustaining Bread of Life, the glowing Light of the World, and the secure Gate for the sheep.
It is while He is still standing in the green pasture that He makes his fourth declaration. John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.”
Jesus states that He is the better, most excellent shepherd, a claim that only He can make. He is proclaiming to be a greater shepherd than Abraham, Moses, or David. He is informing the crowd that all though these fine shepherds gave their lives to carrying for the sheep, they never actually died for their sheep. The better, most excellent shepherd will soon physically die for his sheep.
When David wrote the 23rd Psalm, he prophetically illustrated the beauty of the good shepherd.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.” As much as I love you guys, I cannot be your good shepherd. Only Jesus can fulfill that role. While it is true that I have been commissioned to pastor (shepherd) you, I too am just a sheep. Jesus is our shepherd. And because of that, our needs are met. We are fed his word. He tends to our wounds.
“He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.” Green meadows are a picture of tranquility. In times of stress He encourages us to rest in his presence. He desires for us to be still and listen to his voice.
He also leads us. He does not drive us or push us. We are not to be performance driven to gather favor with our good shepherd. We are simply called to follow him.
When we follow him, we find peaceful streams. Sheep will drown in swift running water. Their wool is like a sponge and will weigh them down. The good shepherd finds still water so the sheep can drink without fear.
“He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.” The good shepherd loves his sheep and renews them daily. He is not critical but rather affirming. He does not discourage but rather encourages. He does not condemn but rather instructs. He does not curse them but rather blesses them. He does allow the wolves to devour them but rather protects them. He does not allow them to scatter but rather seeks them.
He guides us along the right paths so that we can bring honor to his name. If what we are doing does not bring honor to his name than we are no longer on the right path and we need to call out to the good shepherd who will rescue us.
“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.”
We have the comfort of knowing that in the darkest valleys of our life, our good shepherd is still beside us, leading us out. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. We have the promise of his rod, not to beat us but to protect us from our enemies. We have the promise of his staff with a hook on the end as an aid to pull us from the pit when we fall into one.
“You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.” Today the good shepherd has prepared a feast for you. I asked the Holy Spirit to remove the stones and thorn bushes that represent the enemy so that you could feast today.