Knowing Christ As The Good Shepherd
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scriptures: John 10:1-5, 9-15
Sunday 12th February 2017
As we continue the series, ‘Living In the Overflowing Abundance’, here is today’s message titled: ‘Knowing Christ as the Good Shepherd’.
Our foundation scripture for this series is from John 10. Here, verse 1-5 reads: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Verse 9 reads: ‘I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture’. John 10:10 reads: ‘The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)’ (AMPC). Verse 11-15 reads: ‘“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
Verse 14 speaks about Jesus as the Good Shepherd, who knows His sheep. This is comforting. He is aware of all the things we deal with – pain and pleasure, struggles and victory, ups and downs. There is nothing about our lives that is oblivious to Him. He knows our weaknesses and the battles we are facing. Jeremiah 29:11 reads: ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope’. Christ knows what we are facing, and He promises to take care of us. Here is the Message version of John 10:14-15: “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary.”
If we can discern the relationship between the Father and the Son, then the relationship between the Good Shepherd and the sheep can be better understood. The love between the Father and the Son is everlasting, unbreakable, immeasurable, and unconditional. The Father and Christ are inseparable, they are one.
Here are a few examples of the relationship between the Father and Christ:
(1) Dependability: Christ depended on the Father for all He did, here on earth. John 5:30 reads: ‘I can do nothing on my own authority; I judge only as God tells me, so my judgment is right, because I am not trying to do what I want, but only what he who sent me wants’ (GNT). The same way Christ depends on the Father, as sheep, we are called to depend on Christ. (See Proverbs 3:5-6 and Hebrews 4:11).
(2) Trust: Christ trusted the Father with His life, even when it was not convenient. Matthew 26:42-43 reads: ‘Once more Jesus went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cup of suffering cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done” (GNT). As sheep, we are called to yield totally to will of Christ, in the same way that Christ yields to the Father. Luke 5:5-6 reads: ‘But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking’ (GNT).
(3) Oneness: Christ and the Father are one. John 10:30 reads: ‘I and My Father are one’. As sheep, we are called to be in unison, agreement and alignment with Christ. Romans 4:20-22 records Abraham’s actions in agreeing with God’s purpose for his life: ‘He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform’.
(4) Communion: Christ was in constant communion with the Father. Luke 5:15-16 reads: ‘However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed’. As sheep, we are also called to stay in constant fellowship with Christ regardless of the various pressures of life facing us.
(5) Model: Christ modelled his life after that of the Father. Here is John 14:9-10: ‘Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works’. We are called to model our lives after Christ.
The word ‘Shepherd’ is a constant metaphor in scriptures to describe God’s relationship with His people. Once we discern Christ as our Good Shepherd, our lives become more meaningful. King David understood this from his teenage days as he tended his father’s sheep. He describes his experience in 1 Samuel 17:34-35. ‘“Your Majesty,” David said, “I take care of my father's sheep. Any time a lion or a bear carries off a lamb, I go after it, attack it, and rescue the lamb. And if the lion or bear turns on me, I grab it by the throat and beat it to death’ (GNT). The word ‘take care’ could also mean: ‘tend, graze, feed, pasture, shepherd, be a special friend’. The understanding he got from this experience inspired the writing of Psalm 23, where he wrote: ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength.He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me’ (Psalm 23:1-4 NLT).
Isaiah 53: 5-6 and 1 Peter 2:24-25 describes Christ as the Shepherd who heals us from all our diseases in all ramifications: ‘who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls’.
As we experience Christ as our Good Shepherd, we can be rest assured that His ultimate aim is to lead us towards green pastures, filled with His overflowing abundance.
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