Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Jesus, the Shepherd of Our Souls

"I Myself will tend My sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice... You are My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign LORD.'" (Ezekiel 34:15-16, 31)

Jesus is our Good Shepherd! "I am the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (John 10:11). Jesus loves us and takes care of us, His sheep. He laid down His life for us. He helps us lie down (rest contentedly & securely). "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul." (Psalm 23:1-3a) He searches for the lost and brings back the strays. "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." (Luke 19:10) "I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek Your servant, for I have not forgotten Your commands." (Psalm 119:176) He heals the injured and strengthens the weak. "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3) But He will destroy/punish "the sleek and the strong" which refer to "those with power who had fattened themselves by oppressing the other 'sheep'" (from the NIV Study Bible's commentary) This is a warning for all who are selfish, self-righteous, greedy, abusive, and oppressive.

Verse 31 shows a beautiful covenant God made to His children. It's the eternal relationship between the Sovereign Lord and His people/the Shepherd and His sheep. We belong to Him! Jesus is the Shepherd of our souls. What a blessed assurance it is to know that He watches over us, provides for us, protects us, feeds us, and guides us with a loving hand! "When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." (Matthew 9:36)

"The Bible, which throws the clearest light on man’s weakness and sin, exalts him to a height above all we could hope or desire. It marks out man from the rest of creation by the fact that he is capable by grace of hearing God’s voice, of following after and of loving Him. The Lord takes one of the tenderest relations of pastoral life when He says, “Ye are My flock”; and in the fulness of time we have the clear explanation of these words in those of Christ Jesus our Lord, “I am the Good Shepherd: My sheep hear My voice and follow Me.” He who believes that this world has been trodden by the human steps of the Son of God, that His prayers have ascended from it, that He shed His blood to redeem it, that He shared our humanity even unto death, and lives again at God’s right hand, can receive with joy unspeakable the marvellous promises of the destiny of those who are Christ’s. The love of God becomes a reality, life earnest, restoration to holiness possible." (D. Reith)

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for Your promises that give us peace and comfort! Thank You for being the Shepherd of my soul and taking care of all my needs! You are the Source of my life, my growth, and my strength. Help me to always rely on You, trust You, and rest in You. Please guide me to do Your will and lead me as I lead others. 

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