The Lord is my shepherd

The lowly shepherd plays a prominent part in the Bible.

Shepherds were given a privileged role in the birth of Jesus.  An angel appeared to some shepherds and invited them to come and see the new-born Messiah.

God chose a shepherd boy to be the next king of Israel after Saul.

And Jesus called himself the “good shepherd who lays his life down for his sheep” (John 10:11).

What is so special about shepherds?

A shepherd is someone who serves the creatures in his care.  He protects them; he looks for them when they are lost; he leads them to water and to good pasture.

In many ways, it is a thankless job.  The sheep can’t tell the shepherd how much they appreciate him.  And, like people, I guess most of them wouldn’t thank the shepherd even if they could.  They would think it is simply the shepherd’s job to do what he does.

David learned to fight off wild animals when they sought to prey on his sheep.  And Jesus laid his life down for us because we were helpless in the face of Satan.

It is interesting that Jesus so often compared us to sheep.  It is not a great compliment.  Sheep are stupid.  They don’t know when they are threatened until it is too late.  And they tend to wander off to areas where they shouldn’t go.

But Jesus is right.  Often, I do things that don’t make sense.  Indeed, I stubbornly do things that I know don’t make sense.

However, Jesus is the good shepherd and he brings me back to the fold.  I may bear a few scratches and wounds.  But I am safe again.

It is wonderful that Jesus chose the image of shepherd to describe his relationship with his people.  It shows something of his humility and his heart.  It shows how much he loves us, pursues us, and protects us.

As David said in Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd.”


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