The Good Shepherd

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Turn to Him in your weakness. Own it. He will be your strength.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheepJohn 10:11.

Have you ever felt lost? Have you ever felt afraid? Have you ever needed someone to pick you up and put you back on your feet again? Have you ever looked at the future and questioned how you would make it? Then, you, my friend, you know what means to need a shepherd. Honestly, we all do. And this is precisely why Jesus came. 

Roy Hession writes, 

The name of God, ‘“I am,” is an unfinished sentence. It has no object. I am –what? Great is our wonder when we discover, as we continue on with our Bibles, that He is saying, “ I AM whatever My people need,” and that the sentence is purposely left blank so that man may bring his many and various needs, as they arise, to Him to complete it.” …The name “Jehovah” is really a blank check.  Your faith can fill in what He is to be to you…peace, joy, comfort, strength, etc.”  (We Would See Jesus).

Jehovah is a blank check? To some, that statement could seem a bit brash, or entitled when speaking of our relationship with God. I get it, we shouldn’t view Jesus like Santa Clause, but I don’t think this is what is meant by “blank check.” This speaks more of God as our Source and our Provider.   

I Am your strength when you are weak.

I Am the answer to your problem. 

I Am the provider of your need.

I Am the fulfillment of your desire.

I Am your light in the darkness.

I Am your harbor in the storm.

I Am the water for your thirst. 

I Am...

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He tried to convey this truth to His disciples through a variety of tangible, real-life examples. Physical realities used to explain spiritual mysteries. One such moment was when Jesus declared, “I Am the Good Shepherd.” 

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheepJohn 10: 11-15.

There’s that phrase again...I Am. Jesus compared himself to a shepherd. A shepherds’ role was to protect, provide, lead, guard, heal, help, feed and defend his sheep. Sheep are notoriously dumb and dependent creatures. They tend to wander off and get themselves into trouble. Sheep need a shepherd to guide them to food and water.  Sheep need a shepherd to bind up and heal their wounds. Sheep are dependent upon their shepherd to lead them into green pastures. Sheep require a shepherd to defend them from predators. Bottom line, sheep need their shepherd. And so do we. 

We all have needs, desires, longings, fears, hopes, dreams and questions. Thankfully, God is not afraid of our persistent needs or chronic fears. Jesus is our Good Shepherd, He is the Great  I Am. Turn to Him in your weakness. Own it. He will be your strength. 

Pray aloud the much-beloved Psalm 23. As you do so, insert the name Jesus into each line. I find this exercise helps me to visualize Christ Jesus as my Shepherd who leads, guides, protects and provides for me every step of the way. Don’t just say the words, practice turning to Him with your needs. Actively trust Him with your desires. Let Jesus, the Good Shepherd, restore your soul!

The Lord (Jesus) is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
(Jesus) He makes me lie down in green pastures;
(Jesus) He leads me beside quiet waters.

(Jesus) He restores my soul;
(Jesus) He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For (Jesus) His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You (Jesus) are with me;
(Jesus) Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You (Jesus) prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
(Jesus) You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord (Jesus) forever. (Psalm 23 NASB)

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