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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Monday, November 07, 2005

I am the Good Shepherd

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional

Verse for the Day – John 10:11
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

Daily Scripture ReadingExodus 1

Puritan Catechism
Question #5: Are there more Gods than one?
Answer: There is but one only (Deut. 6:4), the living and true God (Jeremiah 10:10).

Devotional Thoughts
Jesus has used several "I Am" statements in John 10. He has told us that He is the door and now He tells us that He is the good shepherd. In relation to His sheep (Believers), He is not only the shepherd - He is the "good shepherd." I want to look at the two words He uses to describe Himself and the implications those words have on us for every single Word, yes, indeed, every single letter of Scripture is inspired and God-breathed, and these words were spoken by Christ Himself!

First He tells us that He is GOOD. The word good can mean "good" in the sense of the Blackberry Cobbler with Homemade Vanilla Blue Bell I am eating while I write this, or it can mean good in the moral sense. Of course Jesus is referring to His character. He is the GOOD shepherd. He is righteous, pure, holy, above reproach, without equal, and perfect! He is also good at what He does! He is accomplished at what ever He puts His hand too - whether it is preaching, leading, ministering, meeting needs, praying, healing, or saving!

The technical definition of the word good is "suitable, effective, unspoiled, genuine, sufficient, correct, virtuous, or whole." Jesus is all of these. He is good by nature whereas we are sinners by nature. He is holy, we unholy. He is pure, we are stained with sin.

But Jesus uses the word good to modify the word shepherd - He is the GOOD SHEPHERD. So apply all of those definitions to shepherding and that describes Jesus in His role as the perfect, holy, GOOD Shepherd of the Flock of God. A Shepherd is responsible to lead, feed, protect, provide for, tend to, and train the sheep in His care. Jesus is good at being our shepherd!

He cares for us with a pure love. He provides for us without fail. He feeds us with His Word. He protects us from the fiery darts of the devil. He is the model shepherd and we are His sheep. He knows us and calls us by name. He leads us out to pasture. He makes sure that our every need is met.

Once again, Matthew Henry puts it best in his commentary when he writes, "Christ is a good shepherd, not as a hireling. There were many that were not thieves aiming to destroy and kill the sheep, but they passed for shepherds, yet were very careless in the discharge of their duty, and through their neglect the flock was greatly damaged (Zech. 11:15-17). In opposition to these, Christ here calls Himself the good shepherd, whom God had promised. Note, Jesus Christ is the best of shepherds, the best in the world to take the over-sight of souls, none so skillful, so faithful, so tender, as He, no such feeder and leader, no such protector and healer of souls as He."

We have already seen that Jesus is the good shepherd - He just told us so. We know He is both good and the good shepherd. Now He tells us why He is the good shepherd and what He does as the good shepherd. He gives His life for the sheep.

There are two things that are meant here by giving His life for the sheep. First of course is the reference to His substitutionary death on the cross. The wages of sin is death - all sin leads to death and all that a sinner ever earns is death (Romans 6:23). Those wages will be paid to all sinners - and guess what - we are all sinners (Romans 3:23)! So if death is all that we can earn with our lives, no matter how good we seem to be on our own, then death is all we deserve! That is why we can never say that God is fair!! As a matter of fact many people complain that God isn't fair. I, for one, am glad He isn't. If God were fair we would all get exactly what we deserve - and that would be death and hell!

Since our sin means we have to die, God's plan to save His people revolves around the fact that His Son lived a perfect life and died a sinless death! He lived a righteous life so that He could give us His righteousness and died a sinless death in our place - He died the death we deserve so that we can now live the abundant life He has given us.

In this regard, Jesus as our Good Shepherd has laid down His life for His sheep. He died in our place, giving His life for the sheep in His fold. This was the job and requirement of any shepherd who was good at shepherding - didn't David even risk his life to drive away and kill a bear and a lion? Even so, Jesus died for us so that we could have God's grace instead of God's wrath!

Secondly, I also see that this verse means more than just His death for us. It also means that His life is spent for us - in other words, He gives His life for His sheep daily. Giving His life is not JUST His death - He gives His LIFE , He spends His life for us! One commentator says that Jesus "exposed and hazarded his life" for ours. He risked pain, attack, judgment, and death all on our account.

The fact is, He risked everything for us - He came to be a man, limited Himself, and died the shameful death of a thief on a cross – cast outside of the city gates to die, naked and exposed before all that passed. He endured temptation in the wilderness after fasting forty days, endured the crowd and a false trial. He endured all of this spending His life for us so that we could be saved. Interesting, isn't it, now we have a new phrase to add to our paradox list. You know, the list about winning by losing, living by dying, getting by giving, etc. Now we can say that Jesus taught us to save by spending!! He spent His life for us, every moment of His earthly ministry we were on His mind!

He is the Good Shepherd and the best Shepherd, therefore we should be eager to trust Him with every single detail of our day to day lives. He is our shepherd. He is good. He is the Good Shepherd. Follow Him and rest in His care today!

Today, know that He loved you enough to spend His life and give His life for you! He is our Good Shepherd because He willingly gave His life for us - He lived and died to make the way of salvation plain and accessible to all who would come. Rejoice in His life and death and give thanks that He did not think His life too great a sacrifice for YOU!


Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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