Advent Week 3 – Shepherd

The Lord is my Shepherd…

There is such depth in this week’s Advent theme – Shepherd, Sheep, the Lamb of God – it’s hard to know where to begin.  My mind flows with thoughts and images – there is so much in the Bible about Shepherds and sheep and it is all so exciting and overwhelming.

Imagine, God, the Creator of All we know, telling us that He will come down and walk among us as a shepherd walks among His sheep, that He will lead us and guide us…

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul;

He restores my soul…

At Christmas we celebrate Jesus’ birth, but why?

We don’t celebrate because a baby was born in a manger – We celebrate because God chose to become man and walk among us – Immanuel – God with us.

“For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.” Ezek 34:11-12

We don’t celebrate because a great prophet and teacher was born – We celebrate because the Messiah, the Savior has come, fulfilling prophecy.

For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53:2-3 ESV

We don’t celebrate because a man decided to die on a cross – We celebrate because the Sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ was slain for our sins paying the penalty that we owed.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  Isaiah 53:4-6 ESV

I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father, and I lay down My life for the sheep. John 10:11

We don’t celebrate a man buried in a grave – We celebrate the fact that the grave could not hold Him.

But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him. Acts 2:24

We don’t celebrate an empty hope, built on false premises – We celebrate the Resurrected Savior.

And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 ESV

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.” Rev. 7:16-17

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”  John 1:29 ESV 

The Lord is my Shepherd… And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and loving-kindness will follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  Psalm 23

The Lord is My Shepherd