John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
As the Shepherds lead and care for their sheep, Jesus loves and cares for His “sheep” (His children that He died for). Jesus is the great shepherd, and we are His sheep being lead to green pastures and fresh water.
In Istanbul, Turkey, in 2005, one sheep jumped off a cliff and then nearly 1,500 others followed! In the end, about one-third of them died. Not knowing which way to go, sheep mindlessly follow other members of the flock.
No better word picture than sheep can be found to illustrate our need for a trustworthy leader. We are all, Isaiah wrote, like sheep (Isa. 53:6). We tend to go our own way, yet we desperately need the sure direction of a shepherd.
Psalm 23 describes the trustworthiness of our Good Shepherd. He cares for us (v.1); He provides for our physical needs (v.2); He shows us how to live holy lives (v.3); He restores us, comforts us, heals us, and bountifully blesses us (vv.3-5); and He will not abandon us (v.6).
What a comfort to know that God gently but firmly leads us! He does so through the urging of the Holy Spirit, the reading of His Word, and through prayer. God is the reliable leader we need.
In acknowledgment of our dependence on the Lord, we can say with the psalmist, “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.”
In tangled paths of life to lose their way,
I need my Shepherd’s hand and watchful eye
To keep me always, lest I go astray. —Sanders
Today’s familiar and beloved psalm has brought comfort and hope to many. And well it should. This psalm celebrates all that the Good Shepherd does for His sheep. The greatest benefit comes in the last verse: We will “dwell in the house of the Lordforever” (v.6). God does so much to provide for and care for His sheep. However, there is an implicit idea in this text that should not be overlooked: Sheep follow their shepherd. The blessings and comfort of this psalm do not come to sheep that do not follow the Shepherd. As Jesus reminds us, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).
Come To Christ
Those who follow Jesus’ commandment entirely, who let Jesus’ yoke rest on them without resistance, will find the burden they must bear to be light. In the gentle pressure of this yoke they will receive the strength to walk the right path without becoming weary.…Where will the call to discipleship lead those who follow it? What decisions and painful separations will it entail? We must take this question to him who alone knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows where the path will lead. But we know that it will be a path full of mercy beyond measure. Discipleship is joy.
Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28–30
Questions to Ponder
- What is Jesus’ “commandment” that we are to follow? (See John 15:12)
- If this commandment is Jesus’ “yoke,” how might we be changed if we bear it without resistance?
- Why might following Jesus’ commandment lead to tough “decisions and painful separations”?
Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long. Psalm 25:4–5
- To be a disciple is not just to believe in Jesus, it is to follow Jesus. In your journal, reflect on the ways in which you are presently following Jesus.
- Do you experience your discipleship as “joy”? Is the “burden” of your discipleship “light”?
- Do you sense there are places Jesus might want to lead you where you would rather not go? If so, where are they and what is holding you back?
Pray specifically for family, friends, and colleagues that they might clearly hear the call to discipleship (which is the call to love and justice), and that they might experience following Jesus’ commandment as joy in the concrete realities of their lives.
From: Through The Bible
Daniel 7:21-22, 27 (NIV) 21As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, 22until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.
27Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’
Daniel has given us many prophecies relating to the end-times. Just as Nebuchadnezzar’s image ended with ten toes, the beasts of Daniel’s vision end with ten horns. A horn is a symbol of power. A little horn rises up and plucks up three of the ten horns. This is the Antichrist. He makes war with the saints for three and a half years. (time, times, and half a time) The revelation of Jesus to John gives the same scenario. The saints throughout the world will be tortured and killed because they will not bow to the Antichrist and refuse to worship him. His freedom to do this is limited to a set amount of time.
When that time is up, the Ancient of Days (God) will come and pronounce judgment in favor of the saints. Then they will possess the kingdom. We already possess the Kingdom of God if we are in Christ. We already have the blessedness of that kingdom in our heart. The prophecy is speaking of the kingdoms of the world, as verse 27 makes so clear. Rule, power, and greatness will be given to God’s people. Yet, it is still called His kingdom. That is because we are His. Just as we co-labor with Him now, we will co-labor with Him then.
Consider: This world is our training ground for learning to work with God. How are you doing? Remember the parable in which Jesus told the steward who was faithful with a certain amount of money that he was now to rule over a certain number of cities? (Luke 19) Be faithful to serve Him now and you will be prepared to serve Him as ruler over cities then.
Revelation 22:3-5 (NIV) 3No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
The city is the bride of the Lamb. It comes down out of heaven to the earth adorned as a bride at a wedding. The curse that came upon the world because of sin has been lifted. The world will be a Garden of Eden.
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in us, the city. The authority and dominion over the earth will be restored to the descendents of the one who gave up that authority.
And what will we do? His servants will serve Him. Though we are given authority, we rule as His servants. It is what we should be doing now, serving Christ our King. Sin so often interferes and corrupts our service, but then it will be a pure and holy service.
We will see His face! Our glorified bodies will be able to look into His eyes. His name will be on our foreheads. Romans sometimes branded the name of the master upon the forehead of a life long slave. When you saw him in the market place you knew who he served. The more important the master, the more you heeded the servant’s business. We will have the most important name of all upon our foreheads.
Darkness will be a thing of the past for us. The Lord who reigns within us will radiate light. All will be illuminated for us. Our eternal reign will have begun.
Consider: This is the destiny of those who are the bride of Christ. A betrothed girl waits anxiously for the day her husband will come and take her as his own. Is this the expectation of your heart?