Tag Archive for Good Shepherd

Feed My Sheep

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read John 21:1-17

The setting was the Sea of Galilee (also called the Sea of Tiberias) after Jesus’ resurrection. Peter had gone fishing, which was his former profession, and six other disciples had joined him. Jesus appeared, and without introducing Himself, blessed them with a huge catch of fish, then cooked them breakfast on the shore. What had been frustrating work was now rewarding and relaxing.

After breakfast, Jesus and Peter apparently got alone and had a conversation in private. Jesus was probably looking straight into Peter’s eyes when He asked him,

“Simon, son of John, do you love Me more these?” (John 21:15, NASB)

What did Jesus mean by “more than these”? More than Peter loved the other disciples? Or perhaps more than the other disciples loved Jesus? Maybe, but it seems more likely that Jesus was asking if Peter loved Him more than fishing and the other familiar, comfortable things in life to which Peter had now returned. In any case, He was pointedly asking Peter where He stood in Peter’s values.

Jesus basically asked the same question three times, using two different words for “feeding” or “taking care of” sheep, two different words for “sheep” (“sheep” and “lambs”), two different words for “love”, and two different words for “knowing”. Some make much of these differences, but I think Jesus was using virtual synonyms to drive home His point. He was gently giving Peter the chance to reaffirm his love after Peter had denied Jesus three times on the night of His trial.

How did Jesus ask Peter to prove his love?

“Tend My lambs…
“Shepherd My sheep…
“Tend My sheep.” (John 21:15-17, NASB)

What is the best way to thank our Shepherd and express our love for Him? Feed His sheep. Nurture those He loves. Jesus has the heart of a Shepherd, and He longs for us to join Him in that work.

The Shepherd’s Compassion

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Matthew 9:35 – 10:8

Jesus was traveling all around Galilee, in the northern portion of Israel, teaching and healing. Huge crowds followed Him. How utterly exhausting that must have been for Him! He could have easily begun seeing the crowds as an inescapable burden. But how did Jesus see them?

Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36, NASB)

He saw them with the eyes and heart of a caring shepherd. He saw their great need, and He longed to gather them all to His Father. He told His disciples:

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. (Matthew 9:37-38, NASB)

Jesus did more than feel sorry for them. He took action, using what He had at hand. He sent His disciples out to all the surrounding villages with these instructions:

“As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8, NASB)

Elsewhere, Jesus reveals His Shepherd’s heart with these words:

“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. and when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:4-7, NASB)

Jesus saw sinners, not as enemies, but as lost sheep needing a shepherd. He looked at them, not with anger or disgust, but with compassion. To the shepherd, each sheep is precious.

Never forget that God has sent you out into this evil world to gather His lost sheep. His heart longs for them, so He has sent you. Go with His deep love and compassion for the lost sheep. Don’t condemn them. Gather them to the Shepherd.


from the book, ONE WITH OUR FATHER 

John 10:1-38

“He who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. . . .  For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father. 

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:2-4, 9-10, 14-15, 17-18, 27-30, NASB)

Father, the deep knowing that binds You to the Son
now binds me to Him.
And as I am bound to Him,
I am bound to You as well.

He calls me personally,
by my own name, and
I recognize His voice.
I am learning to follow no voice but His.
For when He speaks, I hear You, Father:
Your love,
Your wisdom,
Your tender, faithful, constant care for me.

Your Son leads me through every day –
me, Father,
through everything that comes.

He protects me with Himself.
He places His own body
between me and any approaching harm.
He, the Good Shepherd, the Almighty God, is
the Gate,
the Door,
my impenetrable Shield,
my impregnable Fortress.
I need not fear
sickness, or
even death.
Everything that touches me comes through Him,
and through You, Father.

Because I am in His hands,
I am in Yours.
You and I are beginning to share
the same knowing,
the same peace,
the same deep love
that You share with the Son.

Complete us, Father.
Complete us in Jesus Christ.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Good Shepherd
Printed Music & Lyrics

The Life of a Shepherd

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Psalm 95

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1, NASB)

Imagine the daily life and work of a shepherd.

They lived in tents. But lack of rainfall meant lots of moving around during the summer season. They often had to be away from their home base for days or weeks.

They carried a large leather bag which contained all their food and daily supplies. A large staff or stick, sometimes with a knob on the end, was used both as a club and as a walking stick, very helpful over rough, uneven ground. Like David, some shepherds were rather good with a slingshot, since it provided effective, portable protection. It was a way to ward off predators from a distance.

Shepherds had to stay ready for emergencies. If a sheep was injured, they were its only source of medical help. Sheep got so focused on grazing, with their head staying down, that they often wandered off. A sheep was so valuable that it had to be found. The shepherd would leave the rest of the flock and look until the lost sheep was located and returned (see Luke 15:4-7).

The days were long. The nights were long. The life was lonely. Some shepherds made music on a hand-made reed pipe. Many entertained themselves by talking to the sheep, and thus the sheep grew to recognize their shepherd’s voice. He had to keep constant count of them, sometimes even calling them by name (see John 10:3).

Good shepherds would never kill and eat their sheep, no matter how hungry. Shepherds had to be strong and resourceful for times of danger, yet keep a gentle, caring, patient disposition. At night, after gathering the sheep into a fold for protection, he would guard the opening with his own body (see John 10:7-9).

Good shepherds worked hard for little pay and less respect. They did strenuous and important work.

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11, NASB)

Living God

Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and
they shall never perish;
no one can snatch them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me,
is greater than all;
no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
I and the Father are one.”
(John 10:27-30, NIV)

We hear so many voices, both
from the outside and
from inside.

But Jesus, when you speak,
we recognize Your voice.
We recognize
the Father’s love,
the Father’s power,
the Father’s wisdom, and
the Father’s tender care for us.

Jesus, we trust You and
gladly follow You. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Jesus, Living God!
Printed Music & Lyrics

The Good Shepherd

John 10:1-18

Good Shepherd,
lead me through this day.
Call me by name,
and help me hear Your voice in my heart.
May I follow no voice but Yours.

Lead me out, Lord.
Always go with me and before me.
Lead me to Your provision for today:
Your bread,
Your work,
Your rest.

Good Shepherd,
You are the door.
Through You I enter into life.
You are always standing in front of me,
protecting me from the Evil One.

Good Shepherd,
You lay down Your life for me.
I am Your own.
The same knowing that binds You to Your Father
now binds me to You.

You are love.
Speak, Lord.
My heart is listening.

Listen…and sing if you want:
Hymn: Good Shepherd
Printed Music & Lyrics