Good Shepherds… Bad Shepherds… The Good Shepherd…Why is Jesus different?
Jesus is the The Good Shepherd and that means something for eternity.
The Jews understood shepherding
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were shepherds. Jacob managed the flocks of his father-in-law, Laban.
Moses was a shepherd and the tool of his trade, his staff, played a central role in his successes and failures as a leader.
Before he was king, David watched the flocks of his father, Jesse.
God’s promise to David and his psalm of confident praise
David desired to build a more permanent place of worship then the Tabernacle. God told him that his son would build this temple and that God would preserve his descendants so that his family would lead God’s people forever. (2 Samuel 7)
David wrote Psalm 23, the famous “Lord is my Shepherd” psalm. It begins with the declaration that God is David’s shepherd and it ends with the statement that David would ultimately be with God forever.
David knew that shepherds on earth pointed to God, the ultimate shepherd, and places of worship now pointed to the forever house of God.
God judges bad shepherds
In Ezekiel 34:1-24, God speaks against the leaders of Israel. He calls them bad shepherds who were lazy in their duties to the sheep and fed themselves instead of caring for the people.
This passage points to a future David who will feed the sheep and some of the words are the same as Psalm 23.
The future descendant of David will be The Good Shepherd.
The order of Melchizedek
David also wrote Psalm 100, which begins with the mysterious:
“The Lord says to my lord:
‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet'”
This verse teaches plurality in the Godhead and Jesus used it in Luke 20:42 to press his identity before the religious leaders.
In Hebrews 7:1-2 Jesus is a priest in the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek combined the role of king of Jerusalem and priest. He greeted Abraham when he returned victorious over those who had captured Lot. Abraham gave a tithe to him.
In Israel the office of king and priest could not be combined as they were hereditary and from different tribes.
David saw the Messiah as the ultimate king, priest, and shepherd.
All kings and priest and shepherds point to the ultimate king-priest-shepherd.
I am the good shepherd
In John, chapter 10, Jesus tells the people that he was The Good Shepherd. Others before him were imposters. He knows his sheep and them know him. He calls and they hear. He gave his life for them. He would go and prepare a place for them and return for them.
He is, in every way, the better, the best, and The Good Shepherd.
Jesus is the The Good Shepherd and how we respond means everything for eternity.
Questions for consideration:
How have you been a good sheep in your relationship with Jesus?
How have you been a difficult sheep for The Good Shepherd?
How would you describe your response to The Good Shepherd?