God says “I have loved you with an everlasting love” – Jeremiah 31:3. Do we believe this? Can our human minds really grasp the great depth of God’s love for us?
I’m fascinated that God uses the imagery of the sheep and the shepherd to paint a picture of our relationship with Him. People are actually a lot like sheep. Sheep are stubborn, unwise and sometimes stupid. They don’t understand the dangers that surround them. Some sheep are prone to wander. If left to themselves, with no one to watch, they’d be destroyed by wolves or other predators. They get themselves stuck in thorny situations and bleat until their shepherd comes to rescue them. There is one really amazing thing about sheep – they respond only to the unique voice of their own shepherd. Speaking of the shepherd – he watches his own sheep and he sleeps in the opening of the fold, keeping them in and the predators out. When a sheep is prone to wander, the shepherd breaks its legs and carries the sheep around his neck, until it heals. This sheep will now no longer wander away from the safety of their shepherd.
In John chapter 10, Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd. If you have placed your trust in Him, you are one of His sheep. He says that “I am His and He is mine”. He knows His sheep and they know His voice. If you are prone to wander, He might have to “break” your legs but He will faithfully carry you while you heal. The Lord has broken my legs a few times. Even though He does this, it is crucial to understand that you can never out-sin the cross of Jesus. His love and forgiveness out-weighs any sin that you have committed or will ever commit. His love and His sacrifice on the cross covers every sin throughout time. His free gift is offered to every person. You can be a really good person and you still need Him and you can be a really bad person and you need Him. We all need the Savior.
Jesus fought the greatest spiritual battle of all time when He was crucified. He made the costliest transaction in history. He took on the punishment for all sins and He offers you salvation as a free gift. Did you know that when someone accepts this gift, God then sees them under the cover of His Son – Holy and blameless? This is amazing grace and it is for all kinds of people. Whether a good person, a hurting person, an addicted person or a religious self-righteous person, I hope that you will come to Him, just as you are. Come with the realization that you need Him and the salvation that only He can provide. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except by Me” John 14:6.
We all follow some kind of shepherd – philosophy, religion, career, relationships, stuff or substances. How about a new start this new year? My New Year’s wish? – That you follow the Good Shepherd, the One who loves you with an everlasting love, and let Him give you eternal life and abundant life which empowers you to live a life full of hope, love, joy and peace even amidst the difficult circumstances that you face.