The Shepherd Work of Christ: Part Three
The Good Shepherd died for His sheep; the Great Shepherd cares for His sheep. Is there anything more that the Lord Jesus, as our Shepherd, can do for us? The Word of God tells us another name for Him, that shows us another great work He is going to do. He is called the Chief Shepherd. If you turn in your Bibles to 1 Peter 5:4, you will read what God has to say about the Chief Shepherd. "And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” The Chief Shepherd is the One who is coming.
We know that God is everywhere at the same time. He is in Heaven, and yet at the same time He is on earth, for He lives in the hearts of all who believe in Him. But now we cannot see our Lord Jesus Christ, though we know He is with us. Yet the day is coming when we shall be able to see Him, for He is coming back to this earth.
The disciples learned about this at the moment when He went away from them into Heaven. They were standing on the Mount of Olives, talking with Him, when He began to ascend into the air, and they watched Him until He disappeared from view among the clouds. Even after He had gone, they stood looking up at the clouds, no doubt wondering if He would appear again. But instead, there stood by them two men, clothed in white, who said to them, Ye men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into Heaven? This same Jesus, Who is taken away from you into Heaven, shall come again in the same way you have seen Him go.
That is what we are waiting for today. Someday, and it may be soon, the clouds will open, and we shall look up to see the Lord Jesus. He will appear again, and we who believe in Him, shall have our bodies changed, and made perfect, like His glorified body, and shall go up to meet Him in the air and then to Heaven, His home, and ours.
But what is this that the verse says about a crown? The coming Shepherd has been watching over His people, and He is going to reward some of them. This has nothing to do with being saved. Salvation is dependent on believing, and it is never a reward for anything we do. We can never deserve it. But it is a free gift. Yet God is going to reward those who believe, for what they do after they believe. If they let God have His way with them, trusting Him, and obeying Him, they will receive a reward. One of the rewards is for loving His appearing. No one who is living a life of sin, wants Jesus to come back. So if we are truly longing for Him to come, it means that we are living to please Him.
One of the last words we have from the Lord Jesus is in the book of Revelation. It is this: "Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to reward every man according as his work shall be" (Revelation 22:12).
1 John 3:3 says, "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” If we are looking for our Shepherd to come, we will not want to be doing anything displeasing to Him. We will be keeping ourselves pure. If He should come and find us doing anything displeasing to Him, it would spoil for us that great and glorious day of His coming. Let us ask Him to keep us pure.
- Can we know when Christ will return? Why?
- Why must we have glorified bodies? What is the significance of our new bodies?
- In what ways can we seek to please the Lord? Explain.
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