– Grace and David Nesaraj

Have you heard of shepherds that care for their sheep? Even to the extent of risking their own lives, to save the young ones from the mouths of wild animals. David is an example that immediately comes to mind. Moses too was a shepherd before God called him to be a shepherd to Israel. 

In a classic confession of trust beyond all that can be seen or felt,  David exclaims in one of the most loved of Psalms-Psalm 23:1 “The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want”. David considered himself a sheep-and the LORD as his Shepherd, before God called him to shepherd Israel and Judah, testifying about him- “a man after My own heart”. 

And in our own lives too, we have experienced the gentle hand of the Good Shepherd-who laid down His life for the sheep. And it sometimes amazes us- “How did I ever get here?” or “How did I ever get over that?” 

And I am talking about green pastures- not just enough food to eat for the day (as some do portray) – no, no! That’s NOT our Shepherd, there is enough to eat and also to rest, because He makes me to lie down in green pastures. And I am talking about still waters… Not the slushy, dirty waters stirred up with strife. And I am talking about a bountiful table prepared for us, even in the presence of our enemies. Yes, haven’t you experienced all this in your own life? 

That is why it is unimportant what “other people” think about us. David’s father almost forgot he even had this little shepherd boy, when prophet Samuel was seeking to anoint the coming king. David’s own brothers thought David was a pride-filled person when he enquired about reward for slaying Goliath. Even prophet Samuel thought David’s elder brothers were fit to be anointed as king because of their outward appearance. But you know, there is a God who sees the heart. Hallelujah! 

So David became the people shepherd. I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them-my servant David. (Eze. 34:23)

Psalm 78:70-71 NKJV: He also chose David His servant, And took him from the sheepfolds; [71] From following the ewes that had young He brought him, To shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance.

You and I are also called to be shepherds in the New Covenant. The Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd – He is the One who called us, chosen us. 

In Jeremiah 3:15, God says, “And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”

Remember Peter? Yes, that Peter who was always the first one to speak and do – sometimes confessions of faith, sometimes walking on water by faith, and at other times advising even Jesus. Here he was, one day, boldly declaring that he would follow Jesus even to death. As in John 13:37 Peter said to Him (Jesus), “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.” (Notice the “I” before “You” in Peter’s sentences?)

Now here was, after denying Jesus 3 times – a dejected man, a failure in his own eyes. So much so he went back to his old trade-fishing, even while knowing Jesus is risen from the dead!

But such a heart is the right one for our Good Shepherd who meets him by the sea and feeds him first! The breakfast by the sea as recorded in John 21.

Jesus takes Peter aside and asks him- thrice, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? And all the three times, Peter completes his answer with “You know Lord that I love you” (Notice the “You” coming before “I”). The only motivation for ministry must be love for Jesus. When this motivation is settled, it is but natural to be given the shepherds’ ministry by the Great Shepherd Himself: Feed My lambs, feed My sheep and tend My sheep. 

Peter passes this on to other “sheeps” of Jesus. 

1 Peter 5:2-4 NKJV

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; [3] nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 

And adds in verse [4] 

and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

Amen. 

Jeremiah 23:4-6, “I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the LORD. “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved. And Israel shall dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

And that is how the sheep becomes shepherd-speaking about THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Filled with this knowledge and understanding of the loving, gentle and Chief Shepherd-Jesus Christ to whom belongs all glory, now go ahead and be the shepherd God wants you to be- willingly and eagerly. Feeding and not fleecing, caring and not beating…

Amen. In Jesus’ name. 

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