Brian preached this morning from Mark 6:30 -52, a sermon entitled “Green Pastures in Desolate Places.” A great encourgament for all believers to see Christ as their great Protector and Provider. The theme of the Good Shepherd is a thread that runs throughout all Scripture. Here are a few examples:
Genesis 48:15 – “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Issac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day.” This is the testimony of Jacob at the end of his life and hopefully a testimony of our lives in the end.
Psalm 23:1- “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” The whole Psalm is a declaration of a God who leads, guides and protects his people.
Psalm 28:9- “Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.” The psalmist prays for the Lord to be a protector as his enemies come against Him.
Isaiah 40:10-11- “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.” Isaiah’s great chapter on the majesty and incomparable greatness of God shows us that the is also a carrying shepherd to his people. (Read this whole chapter)
The testimony of the whole Old Testament is that Yahweh is Good Shepherd who loves to protect and provide for his sheep, but yet the shepherds (leaders) of Israel are falling short of leading the people (Ezekiel 34/ Zec 10:2). So much so that Jesus comes on the scene and has compassion on the crowds because they were “like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36/Mark 6:34).
What is needed is not another shepherd that feeds himself (Ezekiel 34) and leaves the sheep unprotected from wolves. Instead, the sheep need Jesus the true Good Shepherd.
A. The Shepherd promised in the OT:
Micah 5:2-4 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel. 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.
B. The Shepherd who is Yahweh in the Flesh and fully human:
C. The Shepherd who will provide for the sheep’s greatest need – their Salvation:
Matthew 26:31 For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” (also Mark 14:27)
John 10:11- “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
1 Peter 2:21-25 – “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
D. Finally the Shepherd that will Provide and Protect for Eternity:
Revelation 7:17- “For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
So our prayer is the same as the writer of Hebrews:
Hebrews 13:20- 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, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.