11 – The Chief Shepherd

11 – The Chief Shepherd2017-07-10T01:09:23+00:00

Sabbath, September 9, 2017

“Christ, in His relation to His people, is compared to a shepherd. After the Fall He saw His sheep doomed to perish in the dark ways of sin. To save these wandering ones He left the honors and glories of His Father’s house. He says, ‘I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick.’ I will ‘save My flock, and they shall no more be a prey.’ ‘Neither shall the beast of the land devour them.’ Ezekiel 34:16, 22, 28. His voice is heard calling them to His fold…. His care for the flock is unwearied.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 190, 191.

Special care for the people

1. What special care does the Lord want to bestow on His people? What are the characteristics of the perfect shepherd?

Isaiah 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. 

Ezekiel 34:23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.

“The guarding care that the under-shepherd will give the lambs of his flock is well illustrated by a picture I have seen representing the Good Shepherd. The shepherd is leading the way, while the flock follow close behind. Carried in his arms is a helpless lamb, while the mother walks trustingly by his side. Of the work of Christ, Isaiah says, ‘He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom.’ Isaiah 40:11. The lambs need more than daily food. They need protection, and must constantly be guarded with tender care. If one goes astray, it must be searched for. The figure is a beautiful one, and well represents the loving service that the under-shepherd of the flock of Christ is to give to those under his protection and care.” –Gospel Workers, p. 211.

Jesus, the good Shepherd

2. Who is the good Shepherd? How do we identify the true Shepherd of the flock?

John 10:11, 14 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep…. 14I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

“Christ, the great example for all ministers, likens Himself to a shepherd. ‘I am the good Shepherd,’ He declares; ‘the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.’ ‘I am the good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep.’ John 10:11, 14, 15. 

“As an earthly shepherd knows his sheep, so does the divine Shepherd know His flock that are scattered throughout the world. ‘Ye My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God.’ Ezekiel 34:31.” –Gospel Workers, p. 181.

Lost without Him

3. Without His pastoral care, what would happen to us in this world full of blindness and confusion? 

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 

1 Peter 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

“When all hope was excluded from Adam and Eve in consequence of transgression and sin,… Christ gave Himself to be a sacrifice for the sin of the world…. Christ became substitute and surety for man. He would give His life for the world, which is represented as the one lost sheep that had strayed from the fold, whose guilt as well as helplessness was charged against them and stood in the way, hindering their return. ‘Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins.’ ‘All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’ Every son and daughter of God, if they have an abiding Saviour will act out Christ. Every soul that has not an abiding Saviour will reveal the same in unchristlikeness in character. Love is not cherished and put in exercise.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 283, 284.

Willing to do the uttermost 

4. Because of His great love, what is possible for the lost sheep? In addition to putting forth tremendous efforts and searching, what has the true Shepherd done for every lost soul?

Luke 15:4, 5 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 

Matthew 18:11-14 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. 12How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 14Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

 “Jesus Christ has taken the position of one who came to seek and to save that which is lost, and He has exalted the world inasmuch as He died to redeem it, to bring back the one lost sheep to the fold. Jesus has given His precious life, His personal attention, to the least of God’s little ones; and angels that excel in strength encamp round about them that fear God. Then let us be upon our guard, and never permit one contemptuous thought to occupy the mind in regard to one of the little ones of God. We should look after the erring with solicitude, and speak encouraging words to the fallen, and fear lest by some unwise action we shall turn them away from the pitying Saviour.” –Lift Him Up, p. 209. 

Providing rich pasture

5. What will the sheep who faithfully follow the good Shepherd have in abundance? What special attention does He give the little lambs?

Psalm 23:1, 2 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 

Isaiah 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

“Jesus is the good Shepherd. His followers are the sheep of His pasture. A shepherd is always with his flock to defend them, to keep them from the wolves, to hunt up the lost sheep and carry them back to the fold, to lead them beside green pastures and beside living waters….

“Jesus was the good shepherd to whom the porter openeth, who knows the sheep, calleth His own by name, and leadeth them out. He it is who is stronger than the thief and the robber, those who enter not in at the door, but climb up some other way…. Christ presented Himself as the only one in whom were qualifications for making a good shepherd.” –Lift Him Up, pp. 215, 197. 

Special attention to the sick and injured

6. Does the great Shepherd give time, attention, and care to those who are afflicted, injured, weak, and sick?

Ezekiel 34:16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.

Micah 4:6, 7 In that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; 7And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever. 

“Christ applied these prophecies to Himself, and He showed the contrast between His own character and that of the leaders in Israel. The Pharisees had just driven one from the fold, because he dared to bear witness to the power of Christ. They had cut off a soul whom the True Shepherd was drawing to Himself. In this they had shown themselves ignorant of the work committed to them, and unworthy of their trust as shepherds of the flock. Jesus now set before them the contrast between them and the Good Shepherd, and He pointed to Himself as the real keeper of the Lord’s flock. Before doing this, however, He speaks of Himself under another figure.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 477. 

The chief Shepherd gives eternal life

7. Considering His great love for souls, what is the Master of our souls called? What will He bring with Him when He comes in glory? 

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant…. 

1 Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 

John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 

“Jesus was the good shepherd to whom the porter openeth, who knows the sheep, calleth his own by name, and leadeth them out. He it is who is stronger than the thief and the robber, those who enter not in at the door, but climb up some other way…. Christ presented Himself as the only one in whom were qualifications for making a good shepherd. He is represented as the ‘Chief Shepherd.’… Again He is called the great Shepherd. ‘Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever.’ ” –Signs of the Times, December 4, 1893; Lift Him Up, p. 197.

“Christ … requires these shepherds to have the same interest for His sheep which He has ever manifested, and to ever feel the responsibility of the charge He has intrusted to them…. If they imitate His self-denying example, the flock will prosper under their care…. They will be constantly laboring for the welfare of the flock.” –(Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, pp. 122-124) Lift Him Up, p. 196.

For additional study

“This figure the prophet Isaiah had applied to the Messiah’s mission, in the comforting words, ‘O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!… He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom.’ Isaiah 40:9-11. David had sung, ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.’ Psalm 23:1. And the Holy Spirit through Ezekiel had declared: ‘I will set up one Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them.’ ‘I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick.’ ‘And I will make with them a covenant of peace.’ ‘And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen;… but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.’ Ezekiel 34:23, 16, 25, 28.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 476, 477.

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