John 10: 11 states, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” In these words Jesus is speaking symbolically of His relationship with His church, and literally in a prophetic tone of what is shortly to come to pass.
Speaking of the sheep under Jesus’ stewardship, the shepherd-king David reveals five promises that the Good Shepherd makes to us. These are found in Psalm 23.
The first of these promises is found in verse 1 and 2: “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.” The Shepherd promises to provide for our needs.
The second promise is that we will be provided with rest and revival. Verse three reads, “He restores my soul. . . .” This leads directly into the third promise: He will guide us and lead the way. Not only leading the way, but preparing the way. “He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake (v 3).”
The fourth promise builds on this even further, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” He will accompany us in the darkest of times and provide us with emotional comfort.
The fifth promise, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever,” is one of overcoming. Enemies and evil have no power over us in the presence of our Shepherd. He, as in verse one, provides for us – our table prepared. But there is so much more at this point. We are anointed, and blessed to the overflowing. Best of all, when our journey through the valleys of danger and the shadow of death is complete, we will find an even better rest than in verse 2, because “we will dwell in His house forever.”
We His sheep need to follow. We need to stay close to Him, and maintain our relationship. John 10 continues, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father (vs 14-15). We need to know our Shepherd, and heed his voice. When we do, we need to have no fears.
Based on a sermon outline prepared for me by Dianne on 21 February 2018.