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The Good Shepherd

Tonight I would like to speak about Jesus.  I would like to focus on Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  He has been called the Lamb of God, because He was a blameless pure sacrifice for us, that we would be reconciled back to God through His death and resurrection.  

 

But Jesus had another role.  He was the great Shepherd of His people.  We are His sheep. Because sheep need a shepherd. We are a needy people.  We may seem to have it together, but truthfully, because of our connection to this world, the perfection that we should have been born into and lived has vanished do to sin. Sin reigns in our mortal bodies.  We are corrupted by it, and until we see death, or see Jesus in the flesh in the sky, that corruption will always be in us.  We will always be at war with it in one fashion or another.

 

As it states in Isaiah 53:6, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;” But God sent the great Shepherd, not only to lay all of our sins on Him as the verse finishes out so we may be saved from God’s wrath, but to give us life and life more abundantly as Jesus stated in John 10:10.  And Jesus goes onto say in John “I am the good Shepherd…. Who lays down His life for His sheepin verse 11.  And as we know, Jesus did just that.

 

Why?  Because not only would we receive redemption in Jesus Christ, or as it states in Ephesians 1:7, have forgiveness of our sins, and through redemption gain back our standing with God, or you could say be brought back into His possession, but we will be given freely an abundant life to overcome the chains of this world. 

 

In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except thrugh me.   Many may say there are many ways to God and heaven, or to eternal life, but they are liars.  Jesus as the Son of God, is the only way.  Many will see Him and weep, upon their rejection for believing a lie.

 

And in John10:9, He says,“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”

 

With this statement, Jesus was opening up a door to His people during His ministry to the Jews that I would imagine that was far beyond what they could imagine in the state that they were currently living in.  

 

A pasture generally is green and alive.  It gives sustenance.  It gives life.  A good Shepherd will always look for the best places to lead their sheep, so the sheep will grow and prosper.  

 

The good Shepherd will also lead His sheep to pastures that are safe from wild animals and things that would hurt them.  Because the Shepherd was always about the sheep.  The sheep were the first priority.  If you think about it, healthy sheep bring wealth or glory not just to the Shepherd, but to those who will receive the resources the sheep provides.

 

But let’s look back at Israel during the time of Jesus when He spoke this.  

 

Israel was under oppressive Roman rule, but more than that, they were oppressed by local rulers as well as so called spiritual ones.  Corruption was all over; the Jewish tax collectors over taxed the people, primarily because they were in bed with corrupt Roman tax collectors. 

 

There was no separation between church and state in Jesus day. The priests at the temple in Jerusalem not only officiated over the religious life of the Jews, they were also like rulers and judges.

 

The Herod's were pawns of Rome.  They installed their pawns in the Jewish priesthood. The election of the High Priest was more political than religious. The Romans wanted the priesthood to support their occupation, and the Herod's and local rulers made sure their desire was carried out. So corruption and a hard life was the norm for the regular people of Israel.

 

Now add in the sickness, the lame, all of the diseases, and those who were demonized, you could see the need for a Savior.  When Jesus came on the scene to begin His ministry, He dealt directly with the ills of His people.  

 

You see Jesus addressing this in Matthew 4:23, “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24  So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them.”

 

Jesus also stood up to the political and religious leaders. Why?  Because Jesus presented the true Kingdom.  The Kingdom of God.  A Kingdom that was rejected by the Jewish forefathers years earlier.  While Jesus preached that the Kingdom of God was at hand, the current “fathers” of Israel rejected Him and His teachings because their power and control was more important than a relationship with the Father in Heaven.  

 

Jesus was sent for reconciliation.  The Jewish fathers wanted no reconciliation.  They wanted control. 

 

They hoped the Messiah they were waiting for would reign as a physical king andI imagine they figured they would reign with him. But Jesus was not to be a physical king ruling the nations.  This Messiah turned out to be humble, and a servant and they could not get past His physical nature because they did not know His supernatural one.

 

They rejected the truth that God their loving Father in Heaven wanted to save them from the current as well as future wrath that was to come, and that He would do it through a Man.

 

When Jesus said, “I am the door.”  He was making a statement to all people from that time, until he returns again, that He was man sent from Heaven by a loving Father to His creation that they should not look at the dealings of men that was corrupt led by a spirit of death, but that through Him they could have life and have life more abundantly.

 

Israel forgot about who God was when He used Moses to lead them out of Egypt.  They forgot how He dropped manna and birds from the sky so they could eat, and caused water to come out of a rock do they could drink.  They forgot how He led them in the desert to the promised land and how He miraculously fought their battles.  They forgot that He was all they needed in their life.  But to think of it, so have we.

 

Life now was miserable by all accounts for the common people.  If you were not wealthy, or politically connected, you worked hard, and you were oppressed, and had no way out if you were sick, or lame, or diseased. 

 

God saw the afflictions of the people just as He saw it so many years ago at so many different times, but instead of sending a judge, a warrior, or a king to save them, God sent His one and only Son.  His Son, Jesus the Messiah, the Supernatural King of all creation would die as a man to break a curse that was set over all creation, and set men and women free if they believed.  

 

Jesus not only opened up the door to God’s people to receive salvation and eternal life, He opened the door to so much greater.  He wanted His people to have impact on the earth again.  Just as he established in the beginning, while they were still on the earth now.  He wanted to show others what a life in Him was like. He wanted to show that the most satisfying life there was, was having a loving close relationship with the Lord of all Heaven and Earth.  

 

Having that relationship through Jesus with the Father would cause all of the tribulation on this earth to seem paltry because we could possess from heaven in the Beloved in Christ. Then after our lives were done, wow, so much more!

 

But there is only one way to God the Father and all of His heavenly promises as I said earlier.  But Jesus also spoke of Himself and who He was.  

 

Please open up to John Chapter 10.

 

John10:1  “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2  But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3  To him the gatekeeper opens.”

 

Jesus had just had a confrontation with the Scribes and Pharisees in John Chapter 9.  We know the they were religious leaders, and they were just that, religious; they did not know God.  If they did, they would have known who the Christ was.  

 

But here is Jesus in Chapter 10, explaining that only God opened the door for the Christ to enter.  Anyone else who would try to lead through lies or coercion would be false leaders, false prophets, or teachers.  Jesus called them thieves and robbers.  It was a true statement, because it was false teachers attempting to steal a flock, or mislead a people.  

 

Jesus by His birthright as the Son of God, had the door opened to Him by His Father.  “To Him the gatekeeper opens”, God the Father opened the door.

 

Beginning in John 10:3, Jesus states, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4  When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5  A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 

 

Jesus, the Son of God, knows us each, individually. He knows every hurt.  Every heart ache. Every need, every wish, every want and every dream.  And this Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to indwell in us, so we would know the voice of Jesus because the Holy Spirit would through connecting our Spirit with His Spirit give us the truth to know Jesus and know His voice, and even know His heart.

 

So in John10:14, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,” 

 

When you know Jesus intimately, you will not be pulled by any other voice that may be out there calling you, because you know that your whole life, and everything that you are is connected to the relationship you have with Jesus Christ and His words of life, and freedom are true.

 

Jesus also makes this promise as the Good Shepherd that we must take to heart:

 

John 10:28, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.”

 

With these red letter words of Jesus, we should never have fear.  We are always captured by Jesus and nothing in Heaven or on this Earth can pull us away from Him.  He may seem to be a thousand miles away, but He is always with us, because His Father in Heaven is always with us.

 

God said in Deuteronomy31:8, “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Yes, He was talking to Joshua, but that is a word for us, He is always with us.

 

God when speaking to His people, He said in Isaiah 41:10, “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand,”

 

in verse 13, He says “I am the one who helps you.”

 

Psalms 55:22, “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain you: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

 

And Jesus confirms His connection with the Father in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” The Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all engaged together for our well being and as a believer, not only in us, but all around us in their magnificent glory.

 

The Apostle Peter would say from His own personal experience in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast your cares upon Him, meaning Jesus, for he cares for you.”

 

As a good Shepherd, Jesus freely offers Himself to us.  Those who receive Him so that we could and would walk in the glory of His goodness, and that goodness is that goodness He displayed 2000 years ago.

 

When the people brought Him, “all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, so he could heal them. ALL!

 

That same healing is for us today.

 

I have been in this Jesus is a healer, Jesus is our helper, Jesus is our everything mode for a season here it seems.  The Lord is trying to get our attention.  

 

A good Shepherd takes care of its sheep in every way. Jesus is no different.  Jesus is trying to get it into our hearts that He has given us new life.  But new life has to be taken.  I believe we read what Jesus did, and even see what Jesus does, but when it comes to us personally.  We do not take what Jesus has to offer.

 

Could it be fear?  Maybe.  Could it be as I said last week, we've been beat down so much we have been accustomed to or believe that this is as good as it gets.  Maybe you have been waiting and gave up.  

 

Jesus does not go back on His promises, and that is what He is trying to get us to grab a hold of in every situation in our lives.  

 

If we cannot believe in a full life in Christ, how can we believe it for others?  We may say, well I guess they have favor.  That’s bull.  We all have favor concerning His promises. All that believe anyway. And don't get caught up on the past sins hype.  We are forgiven.  Walk in that forgiveness.

 

It’s time for us to step into the reality of who are.  But it will take us knowing who we are supposed to be following.  It’s time we quit praying for the same relief over and over, and believe that what we seek or wish for has happened and walk in it.  And I'm not speaking about name it and claim it. I am speaking about having confidence in a God who loves us and wants the best for us.  I am about believing what He said.

 

Remember Daniel and His prayers?  God heard them, it just took a fight for the answer to come.  We need to take hold and grasp the promises of Jesus, and in the fight of faith, believe, and live like it, and do what we have been called to do.

 

Jesus said follow me, and as a good Shepherd who takes care of His sheep, we must have confidence in the one who holds our lives in His hands.  Because the day is drawing near when we are going to have to stand as a Believer, stand as Sons and Daughters of the Living God to move past our ill thoughts to be Christ to the people who are going to pour in before us who want to know Jesus. We will have to be Jesus to them. 

 

Being beat down, living in fear, and being wrapped up in sickness will not be the witness that Jesus expects His church to be for a generation of new believers He will bring into the church.

 

We know that the last days will bring a great falling away, but also a great coming to, and we need to be living in the faith, power, and anointing to show people the freedom they have in Christ.

 

Many false prophets and teachers are be out there to deceive.  Many more will come.  We must be living examples of the truth casting down lies with our mouths and our lives.  And we can do that.  Jesus was our example as a Man.  Our forefathers in the early church was our example.  Even though they suffered persecution from man, they abounded in the grace of God in the miraculous through the supernatural.  They lived above the ills of the world.  

 

They brought heaven to earth, and bound on earth what had already been bound in heaven, and loosed on earth what already and been loosed in heaven.

 

We need to be that people.  I know as the Word has been spoken over this place, that people will come in.  Will be people of freedom and those who come in and see it and want it, and we give it to them in Jesus name?  Or will they see a church like so many others, weak, beat down, and poor in belief? It’s up to us to believe, and be what the Good Shepherd showed us what we could be, and should be.  A victorious church!

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