Names of Christ: Good Shepherd
Jesus has many names. One that gives me a real sense of peace is the Good Shepherd. Don’t you love that? The Good Shepherd. I think of Psalm 23 (that was my grandmother’s favorite Psalm):
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. (Psalm 23:1-2 NKJV)
That gives you an image in your mind of what a shepherd is. A shepherd knows his sheep. A shepherd is the provider for his sheep. He provides whatever they need to be healthy and whole—to feed them, to protect his sheep, and then to pursue his sheep.
When I think of pursuing the sheep, I think of that Scripture that says there was a shepherd who had 100 sheep. And if one of them was missing, what would he do? He would leave the 99 to go after the one that was lost. It makes me think of the picture that we’ve all seen—of Jesus carrying the sheep on His shoulder back to the flock, back to His flock, back to the place of green pastures and fresh water. Back to belonging.
That’s so encouraging to us, isn’t it? Whether we are straying or we have someone that we love that’s straying, the Good Shepherd is pursuing us. He’s not just the lover of our soul—He’s also the shepherd of our heart. When we walk over here or over there and stray off the main path, Jesus comes to us saying, “Come this way, come this way. I’m going to let you lie down in green pastures. And I’m going to lead you beside still waters. And I’m going to be the shepherd of your soul.”
He is the Good Shepherd.
Hail the Incarnate Deity
By: Chuck Swindoll Crosswalk. com
On that still winter’s night, something was up… something extraordinary… something supernatural. The shepherds raced to the City of David and found their Savior, just as the angel had said… swaddled and lying in a feeding trough. This was the Promised One, the Messiah! God had finally come to dwell with His people, but in such an unexpected way.
Just who was this holy Child the shepherds gazed upon? Make no mistake: He was incarnate deity. The newborn Jesus existed in eternity past as God the Son. He was coequal, coeternal, and coexistent with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. However, Jesus relinquished the privileges and the pleasures of His existence in heaven when He took upon Himself the limitations of humanity (Philippians 2:6-7). In emptying Himself, Jesus voluntarily set aside the prerogatives and prerequisites of life as He had known it, an existence He had enjoyed; He released His right to that kind of life, saying to the Father, “I will go.”
Go where? To Bethlehem. He took “the form of a bond-servant, and [was] made in the likeness of men.” Allow yourself to picture what the shepherds saw. There He is, the baby. Do you see His ten fingers and ten toes? His button nose? Can you hear the cries? There’s humanity. In this holy infant is the beginning of an earthly life. Look deep into His eyes and see the beginning of life itself.
Later, this divine man, completely unique in His nature and in the perfect life that He lived, “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Isn’t that amazing? Of all ways to die, He died on a cross—the most humiliating and painful kind of death.
God the Son lowered Himself. He took on the flesh of an infant. He died a humiliating death. As a result, God the Father “highly exalted Him.” One day, all will bow in worship of the risen Lord, “to the glory of God the Father.”
It’s all about His glory. What a plan. What an execution. What a perfect, awesome wrapping! The God-man. Jesus is undiminished deity and true humanity, two distinct natures in one person, forever. That’s the baby in the manger!
Once a curse but now a blessing
By: Charles Sourgeon
‘And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong.’ Zechariah 8:13
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 11:13–24
In the dark ages, to be a Jew was to be deserving of all scorn and cruelty, and of no pity or consideration. To what exactions, to what fines, to what imprisonments and tortures, have not the sons of Jacob been subjected by the professed followers of the Messiah? It is perhaps the greatest of all modern miracles, that there should be one Jew upon earth who is a Christian, for the treatment they have received from pretended Christians has been enough to make them hate the name of Jesus; it has not been simply villainous, but diabolical. Devils in hell could not be more cruel to their victims than professed Christians have been to the sons of Abraham. They have been a curse indeed. Among all nations they have been a hissing and a byword. But the day is coming, and is dawning already, when the whole world shall discern the true dignity of the chosen seed, and shall seek their company, because the Lord has blessed them. In that day when Israel shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and shall mourn for their sins, the Jew shall take his true rank among the nations as an elder brother and a prince. The covenant made with Abraham, to bless all nations by his seed, is not revoked; heaven and earth shall pass away, but the chosen nation shall not be blotted out from the book of remembrance. The Lord has not cast away his people; he has never given their mother a bill of divorcement; he has never put them away; in a little wrath he has hidden his face from them, but with great mercies will he gather them.
For meditation: We should thank God for the Jews; through them he gave us his Word (Romans 3:2; 9:4) and his Son (Romans 9:5); he still has blessings to give to the world through them (Romans 11:12). If you blame them for Christ’s death, remember that he died for sinners, and that you, as a sinner, were also responsible.