THE GOOD SHEPHERD
John 10:11 ¶ “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
The Lord is pictured as a shepherd all throughout the scriptures. David tenderly called us “the sheep of His pasture”. In the time of Christ, the shepherd would often have a relationship with his sheep. He would raise them from birth, protect them, feed them, guide them, correct them, and nurse them back to health when they were sick or injured. Jesus portrayed Himself in one of His parables as the Shepherd who left the ninety nine sheep in search of the one that had strayed from the flock. This analogy is very powerful and quite moving, especially to those who have experienced first hand the tender, personal care of our Lord. We can remember clearly how far we had strayed from His care when He sought us out, won our hearts with His love, carried us back to the flock, and lovingly ministered to us and nursed us back to health. He refuses to give up on His own. Matthew Henry has some insightful thoughts about the parable of the Shepherd and the lost sheep. Here is something he said of the Lord’s story.
“This is very applicable to the great work of our redemption. Mankind were gone astray. The value of the whole race to God was not so much as that of one sheep to him that had a hundred; what loss would it have been to God if they had all been left to perish? There is a world of holy angels that are as the ninety-nine sheep, a noble flock; yet God sends his Son to seek and save that which was lost. Christ is said to gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, denoting his pity and tenderness towards poor sinners; here he is said to bear them upon his shoulders, denoting the power wherewith he supports and bears them up; those can never perish whom he carries upon his shoulders.”
Today, Jesus is still seeking to restore anyone who is lost. Have you strayed from your relationship with the Lord? One of the clear indications of your desperate spiritual condition is brought out by this story. The first obvious symptom is wandering away from the flock of God. The Holy Spirit is fulfilling the role of the Shepherd in today’s world. He can go anywhere, and will show up at the most unexpected times, in order to bring us out of our destructive lifestyles that “wandering” inevitably leads to. His role is to chase us down, convict us of our sin, convince us of his love for us, and gently “carry us” back to His house. If you find yourself wandering in the “wilderness” or maybe incapacitated at the bottom of some spiritual chasm, be encouraged, I think the Shepherd has been looking for you, He is not far away.