When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we belong to Him and He cares for us. 1 Peter 5:7 says to cast our cares on Him because He cares for us. Psalm 55:22 says that when we cast our cares on Him, He will sustain us and we will not be moved. The key to living in victory and abundance is casting all our cares and burdens on Him; knowing He cares for us and His love will never fail. In Matthew 11:28 – 30 (NKJV), He tells us to come to Him and He will give us rest. We are to take His yoke upon ourselves and learn from Him for He is gentle and lowly in heart and we will find rest for our souls; for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to Me, I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with Mine. Learn My ways and you’ll discover that I am gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in Me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.” Matthew 11:28 – 30 (TPT)
We see in John chapter 10 that Jesus is our Good Shepherd. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3). Let’s look and see what Jesus says about Himself:
Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for 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. My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me. John 10:7-11; 14-15; 27 (NKJV)
Why do we need a Good Shepherd? In order to understand why, we need to know what is the nature of sheep!
- They go astray (Isaiah 53:6; 1 Peter 2:25)
- They need guidance (Psalm 95:7; Matthew 9:36)
- They are vulnerable (John 10:1 – 16)
In spite of these things, the Good Shepherd sees us as valuable (Luke 15:4-7) and gave His life for us (John 10:11) to bring us back into fellowship with God the Father (Hebrews 13:20). It is His good pleasure to give us the Kingdom (Luke 12:32). God sees something in us that we don’t see in ourselves.
Psalm 23 reveals the nature of our Good Shepherd.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:1-6 (NKJV)
He provides for all our needs (Psalm 23:1); He gives comfort, safety and rest (Psalm 23:2); He brings emotional safety and leads us (Psalm 23:3); He gives protection, comfort and correction. He is our victory (Psalm 23:4); He invites us into fellowship with Him through Holy Communion, feeds us and keeps us healthy (Psalm 23:5); He is good and compassionate and He is always with us (Psalm 23:6). His goodness and mercy follow us! As you read and meditate on this Psalm, replace all the personal pronouns with your name in their place and make it personal. See the Shepherds’ care for you! Look up other Scriptures related to His care and provision i.e. comfort, safety, rest, provision, health, relationship, etc.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD, in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13 (NKJV)
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will guide you with My eye. Psalm 32:8 (NKJV)
Enjoy this video song : Psalm 23 – I Am Not Alone
Jesus is our example of a Good Shepherd for Pastors to follow. He is very concerned about His flock and what is required of Pastors in feeding and caring for His sheep. Let’s look at some verses that show how much He cares for us, His sheep:
He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young. Isaiah 40:11 (NKJV)
So, when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time. “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him; “Yes, Lord; you know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time.” Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.” John 21:15 – 17 (NKJV)
“Therefore, take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28 (NKJV)
Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds. Proverbs 27:23 (NKJV)
In the book of 1 Timothy, Paul discusses the qualities overseers (Bishops and Deacons) should have in caring for the sheep, which is the church, the Body of Christ (1 Timothy 3:1-13); as well as treatment of church members and elders (1 Timothy 5:1-20). He instructs Timothy how to be a good servant in his ministry (1 Timothy 4:6-16; 5:21, 22).
Jesus is also the True Shepherd and He reveals the heart of the Father (Ezekiel 34:11-31). In Ezekiel 34, the LORD warns irresponsible shepherds who are misusing the sheep by controlling, manipulating and taking advantage of them that He will remove them (Ezekiel 34:1-10). God is a God of order but He doesn’t control or manipulate us.
Thus says the LORD God; “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.” Ezekiel 34:10 (NKJV)
We should not stay in a church where the leadership is misusing the sheep and using them for their own purposes. We should not follow someone because of their gifting, anointing or influence unless they are walking in love, humility, have good character and are bearing good fruit (Galatians 5:22, 23). We are told that we will know them by their fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). The Lord will judge those who are abusing His people. You won’t be able to grow under this type of leadership and you will need to leave and be delivered from the effects of it.
Make a point to daily encounter the Good Shepherd and experience His love, and hear His voice of comfort, guidance or correction. The Good Shepherd chastises us to bring us close to Him and He does it in love and because He loves us (Hebrews 12:6).
My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction; for whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:11, 12 (NKJV)
When Jesus returns, He will gather His sheep and separate them from the goats to inherit the Kingdom prepared for His sheep (Matthew 25:31-46)!
“And He will set the sheep on His right hand but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matthew 25:33, 34 (NKJV)
“For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17 (NKJV)