The Good Shepherd Loves You by Dan Nelson

Jesus was an opportunist. He took advantage of situations that were presented before him to bring spiritual truths from heaven to earth. He had already exhorted that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, so whenever Jesus was confronted with a circumstance that provided space to pull back the veil, and reveal mysteries, he would.

He Loved UsJesus had entered a new season of his earthly ministry when he began to speak openly about his imminent death at the hands of his enemies in Jerusalem. Yet, Jesus insisted that he must go there to face his destiny. He also attempted to instill hope by giving bits and pieces of how the story continues with his life beyond the grave. How potentially discouraging it must have been to be faced with the fact that one’s team just didn’t seem to get it. They were preoccupied with their internal squabbles about who is the most important among them. Ugh!

Inviting a child that was nearby to stand in the center of their circle, Jesus challenged the members of this newly created debate club to learn from what they were seeing. The greatest was standing in front of them — and seeing some of the spiritual attributes of the child might help them see their master more correctly (Matthew 18).

After rebuking the arrogance of unsighted philosophers and theologians that might otherwise destroy the simple unwavering faith of a believer, Jesus challenged the thinking of his listeners regarding the heart, priorities, and mission of God; and he used the illustration of a shepherd and his sheep.

“If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?”

That is a challenging question. How do we operate? I wonder if many of us are content with good enough, close enough, and relative success. Jesus uses the misguided disputing of his students as an occasion to explain the mind of God. He doesn’t intend to lose any individual that is genuinely his. Jesus explained that his sheep hear his voice and follow him, and no one can snatch them out of his hand (John 10). While it is possible to wander off, the Good Shepherd is not far off pursuing every wayward lamb.

Jesus wraps up the revelation with an encouragement about the sort of thing that causes rejoicing in heaven; it is at the restoration of each member of God’s flock that is brought back into the fold. Is that you? Are you straying? If so, look around! Your Shepherd is not far off and is on his way to find you. The party is already scheduled to celebrate your return. It is as certain as Jesus’ date with destiny at the cross. But the quicker you follow your savior, the sooner you will drink of the living water, and enjoy the peaceful presence of his pasture. Jesus is an opportunist — and he will not miss the moment, nor lose track of you. Jesus is the Good Shepherd; and He loves you.

Categories Pastors Blog | Tags: | Posted on March 26, 2017

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