Jesus, My Shepherd

Gabe Gary is pastor at The Bridge Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-592-4828.

This post-Easter season has my mind reeling with memories. I’ve been reflecting and recalling the various seasons of my life and how Jesus has led me through them all. I’ve been intentional during this time to express gratitude, pausing to say, “Thank you.”

One of my favorite scenes played out in the Bible is Matt. 10:35-36 where Jesus went through all the towns and villages teaching, proclaiming the good news and healing every disease and sickness. In verse 36 it says, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” The word harassed simply means to be torn apart and disheveled. The definition for helpless is to be put down and  dejected. Jesus saw their condition and He knew the remedy. They needed a Shepherd.

I think most people will have seasons in their life when they come to the end of themselves, and they no longer possess the ability to move forward. There is incredible tension and high levels of stress in all areas of life: building families, education, finances, relationships, etc. But Jesus knows the difficulty of navigating life and He has the ability and the desire to lead us. Consider the following three characteristics of our Shepherd, Jesus.

First, He is a Shepherd that provides. He has not removed the obligation of work but has offered to carry the burden of worry and anxiety over our finances. In Luke 12:22-32 we read how we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and He will add to us everything we need. Jesus concludes by saying “Do not be afraid little flock.” 

Second, He is a Shepherd that leads and guides. I’ve read that sheep are generally nervous about four things: predators, because they don’t have much of a defense mechanism; bugs, because they get under the skin and become irritants, (the small things in our lives); other sheep, because they have a butting order, and could lose their place in the fold. Food, because they don’t have a great ability to navigate their own lives, so they always worry about food. But Psalm 23:1-4 teaches us that, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” The Shepherd always provides, leads, and guides.

Third, He protects. Life issues come from three sources: what people have done to you, what Satan has done to you, and what you have done to yourself. Self-sabotage is painful to watch. Prov. 14:1 (MSG) says “Lady wisdom builds a lovely home; Sir fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick.” In 2005, Istanbul Turkey there was a mass sheep suicide. Turkish shepherds left the herd alone while they had breakfast and one sheep while grazing went over a cliff and 1,500 more followed. In horror the shepherds watched their flock plunge to their death. In total 450 sheep died, 26 families were affected, and total estimated loss topped $100,000. Being left to ourselves, our own ways, our own thinking, our own efforts, can at times lead to our own undoing and destruction. We need a Shepherd, one who has great foresight, knows the paths we should take and has great compassion for us. That’s Jesus, my Shepherd!

Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors, and guest laypeople, of area churches.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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