“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
The Lamb of God … Our Great Shepherd
by Randall D. Kittle

“… our Lord Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant.”

— Hebrews 13:20

One cannot read the Bible for very long without realizing that God has a strong affinity for shepherds. He has a long history of choosing and using shepherds to advance His kingdom on this earth. We can see this in the father of our faith
Abraham, a person whom God declared to be His friend. What was Abraham’s profession? He was a shepherd. And so was his son Isaac, his son Jacob, and his son Joseph.

Years later, when the people of Israel were in bondage in Egypt, God chose
Moses to be their deliverer. Although that was God’s intention for Moses from his birth, being raised in Pharaoh’s house didn’t qualify Moses to lead God’s people to freedom. He wasn’t ready until he had spent 40 years in the desert shepherding flocks of sheep. 

When God had to replace wicked Saul as king of Israel, He selected
David whom He said was “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22). What had David spent almost all of his life doing that prepared him for being a great warrior-king? He had shepherded his father’s flocks.

Given God’s great love for shepherds, I think it fitting that when He had
“good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10) to share with the world on the night the savior of the world was born, that He shared it with “shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night” (verse 8).

Christ Died to be Our Shepherd
Isaiah 53 is a prophecy about the coming Messiah. It tells us that the Messiah will come to fulfill the promise of the Passover. The Messiah will be “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and causes eternal death to have to “pass over” us. Every one of us need Him, for we have all been wayward sheep. Isaiah 53:6-7 says, “All of us like sheep have gone astray.  Each one of us has turned to his own way, but the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. … He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.”  Jesus had to bear our sins on the cross in order to be our Shepherd.

In 1 Peter 2:24-25, Peter tells us that Isaiah 53 has been fulfilled;
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross … For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” It is now more than a promise, it is an offer available to all. Jesus went to the cross as the Lamb of God so He could pay the price for our sins by bearing the punishment for them all. Because of this, He is now the Great Shepherd of the flock who leads His flock safely into eternity — the Guardian of our souls.

Jesus has now fulfilled the promise He made in John 10, “I am the Good Shepherd.  I lay down my life for the sheep.”  He put His life on the line for us to bring us to Himself.  The cross is the reason that Psalm 23 it true. God paid the price to rescue His lost sheep, and He will shepherd them all home safely. I need not worry, for “The Lord is my Shepherd,” and He will watch over me, lead me where I need to go, and care for me.

Because of the finished work of the cross, the Lord isn’t just our shepherd today, but for all eternity.
“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their Shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water” (Revelation 7:17). It is no wonder 1 Peter 5:4 exhorts us to live lives looking forward to “when the Chief Shepherd appears.”

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