December 15, 2014
Our discussion on the Kingdom of God continues as we reflect on who Jesus is and how he impacts our lives and ministries. Through our Advent devotional series, His Kingdom among Us, we are examining texts in John’s Gospel. This week our featured alumni writer is exploring how Jesus is present in our lives as the Good Shepherd.
Rev. Harry Kelm (D.Min., 1997)
Lead Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Calgary, Alberta
There is something very significant about the angel’s promise to Joseph in Matthew 1 that Mary will give birth to a son and that they will call him Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Jesus was sent to this earth to be God with us, to love us, to direct us, to lead us, to die for us. Sometimes we take this simple truth for granted.
In John 10:14-18, Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd. This gives us another aspect of the presence of Jesus with us. The focus here is on the personal connection that Jesus, as the shepherd, has with his sheep, those who follow him. The word “know” means more than just a passing acquaintance: it speaks to the very depths of intimacy. It is an intimacy in which Jesus understands the needs of his sheep. Sheep are known to need care and protection and guidance. There are many days that I come face-to-face with my “sheepness.” I am so thankful that Jesus walks with me as the Good Shepherd.
Not only does this passage speak to our relationship with Jesus Christ, it also speaks to our greatest need. The greatest need of mankind is answered by our Good Shepherd who willingly lays down his life for his sheep. It is in the sacrifice of Jesus that we find the forgiveness of sins and the opportunity for a new beginning. This forgiveness and new beginning is found in a relationship of surrender and submission to Jesus.
The celebration of Christmas must always stay connected to the reason why Jesus came: to be the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. We can get many gifts at Christmas, but that is the greatest gift.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the gift of your Son, the Good Shepherd. Thank for the relationship of intimacy that we can have with you. Thank you for caring about everything that happens in my life. Thank you for salvation, the greatest gift that was ever given. Amen.