Capernaum •Devotion #2: Chief Shepherd

Some things are hard for me to understand. It is well documented that there are over one billion sheep in the world today. That seems like a lot. I have also read that sheep are not the brightest creatures. Hence, rises my question, “Why is that the animal science chose to clone?”

Due to the popularity of sheep, I am not surprised they are referred to often in Scripture (198 times). Sheep are a good representation of mankind, and shepherds portray the heart and work of the Chief Shepherd (Jesus).

The word shepherd is listed about 111 times in the Bible. It can even be seen in prophecy about the Messiah. Isaiah 40:10-11 says, “Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” The Messiah will come in the full power of God but will be gentle, caring, and loving. 

In Micah 5:2, we saw that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Two verses later, we read, “And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.”God chose the concept of a shepherd to describe the Savior of the world.

Jesus accepted the call as the shepherd. In John 10:11, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies of the coming Messiah, which included being a shepherd. As the shepherd, He did lay down His life for us. He died so we could live. 

Hebrews 13:20 adds, “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.” Jesus died for our sins, but He is alive. He offers an eternal covenant for those who place their faith in Him.

Peter also referred to Jesus as a shepherd. He said, “For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25). Jesus is the “Shepherd and Overseer” of our souls. He later wrote, “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4). The Chief Shepherd loves us and is coming back for us.

In the fourth century, Jerome wrote, “I am like the sick sheep that strays from the rest of the flock. Unless the Good Shepherd takes me on His shoulders and carries me back to His fold, my steps will falter, and in the very effort of rising, my feet will give way.”

Jesus welcomed the prophetic calling of being the shepherd. When His sheep wander, He directs them back on track. When they fall, He reaches out to help them up. When they are too weak to walk, He carries them.

He is the Chief Shepherd. His job is to lead; our job is to follow.

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