Jesus, the Good Shepherd 2

Isaiah 49:16 by Justin Ulmer

Over and over again in the scriptures, the compassion and mercy of God are compared to the bravery and sacrifice of a good shepherd. Much of the time, sheep are able to follow the shepherd. But there are times on the journey when the shepherd must carry them. Maybe they’re too young to navigate a dangerous river. Maybe they’re lost or injured. Maybe they’re too ill to make it home on their own. – Lisa <><

Isaiah 40:11 (NRSV)
He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.

Where do you pasture your sheep, O Good Shepherd, you who carry on your shoulders the whole flock? For it is but one sheep, this entire human race whom you lift onto your shoulders. Show me the place where there are green pastures, let me know restful waters, lead me out to nourishing grass and call me by name so that I can hear your voice, for I am your own sheep. And through that voice calling me, give me eternal life.
-Gregory of Nyssa

Psalm 28:8-9 (NRSV)
The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
O save your people, and bless your heritage; be their shepherd, and carry them forever.

Psalm 23:1-3 (NRSV)
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

By calling himself the Good Shepherd, Jesus accepted his role of being a pastor to those around him. John 14:6 is one if the most pastoral verses in the Gospels, if we can read it apart from the who is “in” and who is “out” interpretation that has come to dominate it. As our Good Shepherd, Jesus offers us three things every sheep needs. First, we need to know the path that leads to God (“green pastures and still waters”)–so he is the Way. Second, we need to feed on the safe and nourishing food (“the table”–table land)–so he is the Truth. Third, we need to live (“rod and staff” to fend off enemies)–so he is the Life. John 14:6 takes us right into Psalm 23. Way, Truth, Life—good shepherding.  “The Lord is my shepherd.”  Thank you, Jesus.
– Steve Harper, Jesus the Pastor

Ezekiel 34:15-16 (NRSV)
I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.

Luke 15:3-7 (NIV)
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep. ‘I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

The Taste of Death
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

I am held. I need to be held. I will be held.
I am held captive by downfall and falsehood
or I am held by Christ
whose outstretched arms free me from fear and captivity

Who holds me? Death or Christ?

Great Love bends low to us
Suffers with us and for us
Tastes death so we might be free

What does death taste like?
Amniotic fluid and stable hay
Breast milk and sawdust
Bread broken before sour wine
Salty tears, bitter fear
Ashes to ashes, mud pie
Blood and water served on a centurion’s spear
Linen, spices or stone?

It’s hard to taste anything when your lips are cracked and bloody
Your tongue swollen and stuck to the roof of your mouth

Word made Flesh
Flesh made Mercy
Embodied Love
Wondrous Love
Sacrificing Shepherd
Compassionate Christ
Taste and see that the Lord is good

I am held. I need to be held. I will be held.
Hold me, Jesus

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You are encouraged to patronize today’s artist of the day, Justin Ulmer. Click here for more for his powerful and faithful work.

For an incredible video of Phil Keaggy singing Hold Me Jesus by Rich Mullins, click here

For a worship resource entitled The Searching Shepherd, click here

For more quotes and prayers on Jesus, the Good Shepherd, click here

The Taste of Death © 2011 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form

For more information on the use of the art, scripture translations and this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

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