Friday, December 13, 2013

The Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd, I know my
own and my own know me…” 
                           John 10:17 ESV

     Last evening my husband and I gathered at the local elementary school attended by three of our grandchildren. Alyssa, our fourth grade student, participated in a Christmas program, along with the entire fourth grade class. Before the performance began, there was noise, chaos and typical ten-year-old behavior. The decibel level in the room reminded me of why I preferred working in the high school in my younger years.

     But amidst all the noise and chaos there was one thing I knew—my granddaughter’s voice. I did not know the other children or their parents. I did not know which child belonged to whom—I only knew which one belonged to me. And she knows my voice. When she was getting a bit too loud and I whispered “be still” or when she did well and I smiled and hollered with a good job voice and when I hugged her from behind and said, “I love you,” she did not need to see my face because she knew my touch and my voice.

     I am reminded that my relationship with Jesus Christ takes on those same relational characteristics. John recounts the words of Jesus as He teaches those listening that He is the Good Shepherd, and He knows His own sheep. Since I am one of His sheep, I am assured that He hears the tone in my voice and sees the speed of my step. He knows if my smile is right-side up or upside down. He watches when tears of joy bubble down my cheeks or when tears of sorrow pour like a waterfall over a cliff.

     It is joy to know that Jesus knows me by name. He knows my voice. He hears when I call out to Him. He speaks, and I recognize His voice. His is never a voice of condemnation but of conviction. His is never a voice of shame but of mercy. His is never a voice of hate but a voice consumed with love for His sheep.  His is the voice crying out from the cross, “Father, forgive them…”

     He knows my voice; one out of billions. He cares for me like a shepherd for his sheep. He loves me. He will convict me when I am wrong and remind me that He is holy—lest I forget. Proverbs 1:7 (ESV) tells us that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” He is God, He is good, He is holy, I am His and He is mine.

     If you are His, you already know that He loves you. If you are not, there is no better time than now, this moment, to invite Jesus to be your Good Shepherd. He is Immanuel, God with us and He wants you to be sheltered safe in the arms of the Shepherd.

© Joyce Powell

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