The Parable of the Good Shepherd
Jesus loved to use stories to illustrate profound, life-transforming concepts. He loved to use real and genuine settings, characters, and ideas that apply to all of us to reveal God’s heart of pursuit and love. This week we’re going to spend time allowing the parables of Jesus to speak directly to our situations, mindsets, and core beliefs about who God is. Open your heart and mind to be transformed by the powerful and captivating stories of Jesus.
Scripture: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15
Have you ever experienced a sense of grand perspective where you realize your smallness in comparison to the earth’s grandeur? Have you ever contemplated your small stature in light of how colossal the universe is? Every now and then, when I get a sense of my smallness I am overcome by the fear of being lost. I think, “Who will show me my path in this seemingly increasing world? Who will guide me through the various trials and changes that will undoubtedly come my way? Who will help me?”
One of my favorite metaphors in Scripture is God as the Good Shepherd. Jesus is the most equipped guide we could ever have. He holds all of creation in the palm of his hand, and yet he knows the number of hairs on our head. He is the God of the gigantic and a lover of every little detail about us. And he longs to lead us to safe pasture. As we look at the parable of God as the Good Shepherd today, allow your faith and affections to be stirred by God’s promise to guide you into the matchless life he has in store for you.
John 10:14-15 says, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” Jesus paved the way for us to enter into the most amazing pasture of all: the very presence of the living God.He laid down his life as our Good Shepherd that we might eat of the fruit of his death and resurrection. But God didn’t only lead us to heaven; he continually leads us as our Good Shepherd day in and day out.
In the famous Psalm 23 David writes, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even 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 overflows” (Psalm 23:1-6).
God’s staff is meant to comfort us. As our Good Shepherd he promises to lead us daily to the plans he has for us. That doesn’t always mean that we will be led out of “the valley of the shadow of death,” but that in the valley he will “prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Our great comfort is the fact that God will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). As Psalm 139:9-10 says, “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” God is with us in times of trouble. He will protect us, provide for us, and lead us to still waters.
God longs to guide you today. What trouble is before you? Where do you need guidance? Where do you need help? God promises to be your Good Shepherd. You have the most high God on your side. You can trust in his leadership. Jesus was faithful to come and die so that you might have eternal life. If he was faithful to lead you to heaven, he will certainly lead you through whatever trial you are going through now.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Your God is a trustworthy Shepherd. Enter into prayer with expectancy that he will guide you perfectly and in his perfect timing. Cast your cares on him and trust him. Allow him to “make straight your paths” as you follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
1. Meditate on the idea of God as your Good Shepherd. Receive the truth of his promise to lead you and protect you.
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15
“You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.” Exodus 15:13
“If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:9-10
2. Where do you need his leadership today? Where do you need his protection? Cast your cares on his shoulders and receive the peace that comes from trusting in him.
“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
3. Ask the Holy Spirit for leadership. Your God will directly guide you through trials. Trust in his leadership and follow whatever it is he tells you to do. If his word speaks directly to your situation, commit to obeying it! God promises to guide you as your Good Shepherd.
“This is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.” Psalm 48:14
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16
“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21
Extended Reading: John 10
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