“I am the good shepherd,” said Jesus. “The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep,” (John 10:11).
The world is full of leaders and gurus who promise peace and prosperity. If we pay a fee to take their course or vote for them in the next election, all our problems will disappear. In the ancient world, leaders often made deity claims. Many coins of Alexander the Great are stamped with the word “soter,” which means savior-god.
Jesus distinguished himself from all other “saviors” in that he didn’t come to get something from us, but rather to lay down his life for us. The prophet Isaiah describes us as sheep who have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6). In spite of our rebellion against God, Jesus gave his life so that he could give eternal life to all who trust in him as their “soter” or savior-God.
Once we enter into the fold of the good shepherd by faith alone in Christ alone, we can look to the Lord to guide us into his paths of righteousness. Jesus loves to care for his sheep.
“Jesus has been a good shepherd by helping me through anger and overreacting,” says Uzziel, 8.
Anger is one of life’s most challenging emotions. Who hasn’t felt like saying, “I don’t need anger management. You just need to stop making me angry.”
Mark Twain wrote that “anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
The Lord can shepherd us through anger. Most of the time, it’s best to let it go by trusting the Lord to work in situations where we feel wronged.
Anger is especially challenging when driving on the freeway at 70 mph while some joker hugs my bumper. If I had to slam on my brakes, it’s a trip to the emergency room or the funeral home for both of us.
Certain circumstances call for righteous indignation. However, I’m not always sure whether it’s self-righteousness or righteous indignation at work when anger emerges.
Why is it so easy to remember that Jesus drove the money changers and animals out of the temple with a whip, but hard to remember that Jesus asked his Father to forgive those who crucified him? To know when to walk away and when to engage in righteous anger and to what degree is wisdom that only the good shepherd can provide.
“Jesus has guided me through mistakes and will be with me when I am hurt,” says Samuel, 8.
Life is full of mistakes and sins. What about those times when I’ve acted selfishly, but I can’t see it? When I feel the pain of rejection caused by my own selfishness, I may be too proud to admit I was wrong.
Think about this: If the good shepherd can lead us through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23), he can restore us to fellowship with himself and to those whom we have wronged. If we confess our sins to the Lord, we can walk again in God’s paths of righteousness (I John 1:9). Confession to people we’ve wronged may also be restorative. Like sheep starving in a barren desert who long for lush, green pastures, God will lead us to the place where we thrive.
Memorize this truth: John 10:11 previously quoted.
Ask this question: If you have trusted the Lord Jesus to resurrect you after you die, why can’t you trust him as the good shepherd to lead you through the hills and valleys of this life?
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Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
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