Friday, October 05, 2007

The Good Shepherd

Adjectives are type of words that describe nouns. We use them to paint a verbal picture of objects, animals or persons. Among different things that can be described are: color, texture, firmness, position, placement, shape, size, quantity and/or quality. These descriptions can be absolute or relative. For example, we say that bananas are yellow. This is pretty much an absolute description. However, if we ask how yellow banana are, it becomes a more relative description, because some things may be yellower than others. So, we see that to describe something as being more of the one adjective than the other we add “er” to the adjective. We add “est” when we want to say something is so yellow, nothing can compare. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. One example of this is the adjective, “good.” “Good” is the basic adjective, “better” is one step up, and “best” is the highest step.

However, for God there is nothing that is a step above good. Through out Genesis God calls His creation good, including man. In fact, Jesus told the young rich ruler, “No one is good but God.” So God is good, and so is His creation. But, as man insists in trying to be higher than the Almighty God, he calls himself better and best, and also calls his creation better and best. Only to find out that there is always some defect in him or his creation. So man stands in contrast to God. When God says something is good, it is perfect, but when man says something is better or best, it has defects and imperfections.

Christ calls Himself the Good Shepherd; which means that despite what men may think, there is no better Shepherd than He. In man’s terms Jesus is the best Shepherd. In John 10, Jesus says why He is the good Shepherd: he enters through the door, His sheep know His voice and He calls them by name, the follow Him, He gives His life for the sheep. In contrast to Jesus are the thieves who do not enter through the door, they come to steal the sheep; sheep that do not follow them for they know not their voice. The thieves come to steal, kill and destroy. Also, in contrast to Jesus are the hirelings, who run away in time of danger, the flock is not their priority, their life is. Because, of them the flock is scattered. In Luke 15, Jesus describes the good Shepherd as someone that willingly puts His life in jeopardy for just one sheep of the flock. The author of Psalms 23 was a Shepherd himself, he knew of the dangers of being a shepherd. David convinces Saul of his qualifications to fight Goliath because of His Shepherd experience. He said,

1 Samuel 17
34And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
35And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
36Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
37David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine

David put his life in harms way for the sheep. Christ, also, put His life in harms way for us, because He agapes us. A good under shepherd will also go to the lengths David and Jesus went. They can do it because God’s unconditional love (agape) has filled their hearts. They received the Holy Spirit who in turn brings this love of God, so they can love as God loves. It is a gift from God to all those who allow the indwelling Spirit of God to do His work in and through them. A good under shepherd then cares, tends, and feeds God’s sheep, as Christ does.