The Shepherd Through Life —The promise of a Guardian
We have looked at magnificent promises that have been fulfilled long ago, and a magnificent promise yet to be fulfilled in the future. In this lesson we look at how Christ is our Shepherd who blesses us in wonderful ways right now.
1 Jesus Shepherds and Guards our Souls
Jesus is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (1Peter 2:25). The word "bishop" means guardian, one who watches over us.
Jesus knows each one whom he has sealed. He promises his followers that no one can snatch them out of his hand (John 10:27-29).
Upon becoming Christians, not only do we receive the forgiveness of our sins, but also we are "sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise"(Ephesians 1:13-14).
On the day of Pentecost, Peter promised both the forginess of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who would repent of sin and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38-39).
By giving this magnificent gift to us, Jesus is guaranteeing that he will shepherd us through life and lead us to our eternal inheritance in heaven.
2 He is the Finisher of our Faith
Some people are kept from becoming Christians because they doubt that they will be able to finish what they start. They are afraid to start down the track because they doubt that they can complete the journey.
This is a real concern, because Jesus said, "No one, after putting his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God"(Luke 9:62).
We must understand, however, that the finishing of our course is not reliant upon ourselves only, but also upon Christ. He is "the Author and Finisher of our faith"(Hebrews 12:2).
Certainly Christians are told, "Look to yourselves!"(2John 1:8) however that is not the only place to look. We should also be "looking unto Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith"(Hebrews 12:2).
When we look to ourselves, we realise our imperfections. When we look to Jesus, we find the One who can perfect us. We didn't start the journey alone. Jesus was the Author or Beginner of our faith. Likewise, though we cannot in our own strength finish the journey, nevertheless through Jesus the Finisher of our faith we can most certainly endure to the end.
3 He will take care of us
John says, "If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us... we know that in whatever we ask, we have the requests which we have asked from him"(1John 5:14-15).
Jesus tells us that if we seek first his kingdom, he will see to it that our daily needs are provided, and we don't have to worry about our day-to-day survival (Matthew 6:24-34 10:29-31).
Jesus upholds the words of the Psalmist, "I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging bread"(Psalms 37:25).
One lovely thing about being a Christian, is that you know your life is in the hands of the most trustworthy, most caring, and most powerful Person in the universe.
Mind you, it is a favorite myth that one who truly follows Christ will be richly blessed with health and wealth and will live a fortunate life. If you become a Christian because you think it will stop bad things happening to you, then you will be disillusioned. Paul went through periods of prosperity. He also went through periods of hardship (Philippians 4:12).
There is no correlation between bad experiences and one's faith except that Satan is buffeting us as he did Job and Paul (2Corinthians 12:7-9).
Through good and bad times Jesus will Shepherd us, and we need to keep our faith in him whatever our lot.