The good word for today is SHEPHERD. This word expresses the character of Jesus and provides for us the best model for ministry found in the Bible. Jesus said of himself:
“…he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leaders them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.” (John 10:2-3)
Jesus is our shepherd who knows us because he calls us by name. Jesus speaks to us and we know his voice when we hear it. He leads us into “green pastures” and into “paths of righteousness” because he loves us and knows what is best for us. Jesus truly is our “GOOD SHEPHERD”. (John 10:11)
The image of the good shepherd expresses the character of God:
“for thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd cares for his heard in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day.’” (Ezekiel 34:11-12)
Like Jesus, who is our good shepherd, God the great shepherd searches for the sheep, cares for His sheep, and goes after them to deliver and restore them to the fold.
Charles Spurgeon said, “What would become of some people if they were always in good health? Tribulation is the black dog that goes after the sheep, and barks them back to the fold.”
When we stray away, God is a shepherd that “barks” at us to bring us back into His fold.
The image of the shepherd expresses the heart of God. It shows us the character of Jesus. As the good shepherd of the sheep, Jesus claims to be the only one who works to gather the sheep.
- Sheep can find their way into the fold of God by no other means except through Jesus. (John 10:5)
- Jesus lays his life down for the sheep. (John 10:11)
- He has authority to do so because God has given Him the power to take it up again. (John 10:18)
- Jesus knows His own sheep, because the sheep know His voice and follow Him alone. (John 10:16)
Today’s scripture, Acts 20:17-28, is the only sermon that Paul peaches in Acts specifically to the church. Paul tells us in this passage that we should not only believe in the good shepherd, but we should also follow his example and become shepherds ourselves. The “SHEPHERD” model of ministry is what Jesus commanded Peter to do:
“…Simon, son of John, do you love me? Peter said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Shepherd My sheep.” (John 21:16)
Like Peter, we are called to become shepherds who gather the sheep, care for God’s sheep and lead the sheep into “,..green pastures and still waters.” (Psalm 23:2)
Grace church should be a SHEPHERDING kind of church. That’s what Paul meant when he said, “…shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28)
There is no better way to lead the people of God than to be a SHEPHERD to them. There is no higher calling than to become like Jesus, a SHEPHERD of God’s flock. Praise God today for the SHEPHERDS that God has placed here at Grace.