Day 16. Listen for the Shepherd’s Voice

This entry is part 16 of 23 in the series A Christmas Story Devotional

16.Shepherd

“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 -and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15

In our Christmas story we know that the shepherds were the first ones outside the family to know about the birth of Jesus, and upon seeing baby Jesus they praised God.  Were they familiar with the prophesy that he too would be a shepherd? A shepherd of people?  What an honor to witness the Messiah at his birth.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Luke 2:8

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2:20

From David, the Shepherd who would be king, we receive the comforting words and assurance of God’s leading and caring for us through life’s hardships and joys.

Psalm 23: Davids Psalm

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

It was prophesied in the Old Testament that the Messiah would be a Shepherd.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11 

In this New Testament scripture we know we are equipped for doing good according to His will, through Jesus.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

In John we learn that the Shepherd is our gate, that He leads us in and out, calls us by name, and gives us life to the full, even to the point of laying down his own life for the sheep.  That is a deep love.

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”  Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

“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—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.  The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:1-18

This laying down of the Good Shepherds life for the sheep means we will never perish.  What a gift to be under His care.

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”  John 10:25-29

And at the end of time, when all is said and done, God will be there to wipe away our tears with His own hand, and in His Presence we will have fullness of joy.  Can you imagine a love so full, so personal, so safe and eternal?  One day will will know.

For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ Revelation 7:17

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12-13

 

Print this post by clicking on the green ‘printer friendly’ bar below, and write your answers to these questions.

Question (feel free to journal your answer here) Are you near enough to the shepherd to hear him or is he out looking for you in the dark?  

 

Your prayer (feel free to write your prayer here)

 

 

 

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