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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God . . .”—Acts 20:28 (NKJV)
We get a wide window into the heart of Jesus by considering how He identifies Himself. What He says about Himself is a perfect portrait of who He is. With that in mind, we must remember He called Himself “the good shepherd” (John 10:11).
Of all things . . . of all the professions on the planet, the Lord chose to identify with shepherding. He declares Himself as shepherd and us, His people, to be His sheep. There’s a lot to this! Sheep require a lot of time and attention from a shepherd. In fact, sheep are so helpless by nature they’re dependence on the shepherd really never ends. They require constant protecting, washing, and feeding. It’s a full-time job!
Paul picks up on this in the passage above as he exhorts the elders of the church at Ephesus to watch over the Church as a shepherd would watch over their flock.
Hang on . . . I thought Jesus was the shepherd?
He ultimately is. But incredibly, Jesus also calls and entrusts elders and pastors to serve as His “under-shepherds” for His Church. It’s their responsibility to serve the Church as a shepherd would serve sheep by protecting, washing, and feeding them.
We see Jesus entrusting this task to Peter just prior to Him ascending to heaven: “He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep’” (John 21:17 NKJV).
What does this tell us about Christ’s heart towards us? It reveals that His love for us is absolute! He didn’t just come to earth, tell us how to live, die for our sins, ascend to heaven, and leave us on our own to figure things out until the day we die. No, because that’s not the heart of a shepherd for his sheep. A shepherd makes provision, he plans ahead, he does what’s needed out of compassion for his flock.
Jesus has demonstrated the depth of His love for us by calling men like Peter, and countless others over the centuries, to care for His flock. The Good Shepherd has seen to it that the sheep will be looked after, even after He’s returned to the Father’s right hand in heaven.
DIG: How does Jesus identify Himself towards us?
DISCOVER: What does this reveal about our depth of need? What does this reveal about His depth of love?
DISPLAY: Has the Lord put people in your life that He wants you to shepherd? If you haven’t taken the step yet, be intentional about reaching out to them this week. Initiate that relationship. Answer the call to shepherd-hood! If you don’t know where to start or who to shepherd, ask the Lord!
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.