The Lord Jesus is our Shepherd; according to the New Testament, Christ is the good Shepherd, the great Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd, and the Shepherd of our souls. In Ezekiel 34 in particular we see that the Lord Himself comes to shepherd His sheep, and He will take good care of them.
We all can testify that the Lord is our Shepherd, and He takes an all-inclusive tender care of our souls both individually and corporately in the church life.
Here are some aspects of the Lord’s shepherding as seen in Ezek. 34:
- Christ brings us out from among the unbelievers to Himself
- Christ brings us to our own land – He brings us to enjoy the all-inclusive Christ as the good land of Canaan.
- Christ brings us to the high mountains – He brings us to enjoy and experience the resurrected and ascended Christ.
- Christ brings us to the streams – He brings us to drink and be filled with the living water of the life-giving Spirit.
- Christ feeds us, His flock, by the streams – He feeds us with all His riches as we meet together to enjoy Him.
- Christ brings us back to the good and rich pasture – He gives Himself to us as our supply to meet all our needs in a rich way.
- Christ causes us to lie down – He gives us rest inwardly, causing our weary soul to lie down and rest.
- Christ binds up the broken one and strengthens the sick one – He binds and heals the broken-hearted and the sick ones.
- Christ exercises His righteous judgments among us – He clears away all the unjust things, misunderstandings, and offenses.
- Christ is set up by God to be the real Shepherd to feed us, cause us to be filled and satisfied, and in doing this He takes care of all our problems and responsibilities.
- Christ delivers us, in His covenant of peace, from any troubles, disturbances, and evil persons, causing us to be at peace.
- Christ blesses us with all that He is, and He causes us to become a source of blessing to others so that they may be supplied with Him.
The result of His shepherding is that we have God’s presence – we are His and he is ours, and we are one with Him, mingled with Him.
As the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus came that we might have Life and have it Abundantly
The Lord Jesus didn’t come for us to be saved from sin and redeemed back to God; He came as the good Shepherd so that we may have life (He Himself is life – see John 11:25; 14:6) and may have it abundantly (John 10:10-11).
On the one hand, Christ Himself is our good pasture for us to eat freely of Him and be nourished by Him (John 10:9), and on the other, He is our good Shepherd, laying down His life for us.
As the Lord’s sheep, we are meant not to remain in the fold of the law or religion but to be in the good pasture, in the enjoyment of Christ as the reality of all that we need. We therefore need to hear the voice of our good Shepherd, come out of any fold, and come to the Lord to enjoy Him as our pasture (Gal. 3:23-25; 4:3-5).
Christ laid down His soul life, His human life, to accomplish redemption for us, His sheep, so that we may share His zoe life, His divine life (John 10:11, 15, 17).
As man, the Lord had the human life (the psuche life, the soul life), and as God, He had the divine life (the zoe life); He laid down His soul, His human life, to accomplish redemption for His sheep, so that they may share His divine life, the eternal life, and be formed into one flock under Himself as the one Shepherd.
He loved us and laid down His life for us (1 John 3:14), and as He shepherds us, we also will lay down our own soul life for the brothers to shepherd them by being one with the Lord.
The Lord as the good Shepherd has formed the Jewish and the Gentile believers into one flock – the church, the Body of Christ – under His shepherding (John 10:16).
Thank You Lord Jesus for coming as the good Shepherd so that we may have life and have it abundantly! Thank You for laying down Your soul life to accomplish redemption for us so that we may share Your divine life. Thank You for leading us, Your sheep, out of the fold of the law and religion and into Yourself as the feeding place so that we may eat freely of You and be nourished by You. Keep us under Your all-inclusive tender care as the good Shepherd, enjoying Your shepherding as the sheep in Your one flock!
Christ is the Great Shepherd of the Sheep to Perfect us and Make the Covenant Real to us
According to Heb. 13:20, God raised Christ from the dead, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, in the blood of an eternal covenant; Christ is the great Shepherd of the sheep, and as such a One He brings us into the enjoyment of His covenant and perfects us.
The eternal covenant is the covenant of the new testament to gain a flock, which is the church issuing in the Body of Christ and consummating in the New Jerusalem. In Hebrews we see the heavenly ministry of Christ as the High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek, and the chief aspect is His shepherding.
Christ’s shepherding is to bring all the elements of the covenant into our experience and to consummate God’s goal. In His heavenly ministry, Christ is executing the new covenant, the goal of which is to have a flock – the church, the Body of Christ.
Christ is the great Shepherd through whom God, based upon His redeeming blood of the eternal covenant, perfects the believers as the sheep of God, the churches, in every good work for the doing of His will, ding in us that which is well pleasing in His sight (Heb. 13:20-21).
As the Great Shepherd, Christ is making real to us all the contents of the new covenant (Heb. 8:8-13); He knows that we may not realize what is contained in this covenant, so He shepherds us into the reality of everything in the new covenant.
Praise the Lord, God has raised from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, in the blood of an eternal covenant! Thank You, Lord, for being such a great Shepherd who perfects us in every good work for the doing of God’s will, doing in us that which is well pleasing in His sight. Amen! Lord, keep us under Your shepherding day by day so that we may be brought into the reality of everything that is bequeathed to us in the new covenant!
As the Chief Shepherd, Christ Shepherds His Flock through the Elders of the Churches
Christ is the Chief Shepherd; as such a One, He shepherds His flock – the saints in all the churches – through the elders of the churches (1 Pet. 5:4).
The primary function of the elders is to shepherd the church of God, over which the Holy Spirit has placed them as overseers. Therefore, the elders are required to become the same as God in their being in order to shepherd the flock according to God.
They have to go through many things in their experience of the Lord, touch Him deeply, so that they can shepherd the flock of God as the reproduction of the Chief shepherd. Without the elders’ shepherding, the church cannot be built up.
The elders’ shepherding of the saints should be Christ’s shepherding through them. For this, they need to know the Lord’s all-inclusive tender care in a fine, detailed, and personal way, realizing that they themselves are “sick sheep”, broken-hearted, in need of shepherding from the Lord. They need to let the Lord gain them, mend them, and heal them, so that through them many other broken hearts will be healed.
Furthermore, the Lord needs to touch the deepest part of their being – their disposition; in shepherding others, our disposition always hurts them and offends them. Whenever the disposition comes out, the self is expressed, and even though we may say the right thing, the others are hurt by what we are.
We need to let the cross deal with us, break our disposition, not be quick to speak, and allow the Lord to flow through us to our fellow sheep. We all need to learn to shepherd others not in the old creation but by Christ as the shepherding Chief in resurrection.
Lord Jesus, You are the Chief Shepherd, and You desire to reproduce Yourself in many elders and saints for the shepherding of Your sheep. Amen, Lord, give us the experiences we need so that we may remain under and enjoy Your shepherding – Your mending, Your healing, and Your care. Have a way to deal with our disposition and bring us fully in resurrection so that we may be one with You as the Chief Shepherd and thus shepherd the saints according to God!
As the Shepherd of our Souls, Christ Oversees our Inward Condition and Cares for our Inner Being
Peter was so impressed with the commission of the Lord [in John 21] that in his first book he told the believers that they were like sheep being led astray, but they had now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer (Christ) of their souls (1 Pet. 2:25). Christ’s shepherding of His flock includes His caring for their outward things and also their inner being, their souls. He takes care of the things concerning their souls by overseeing their souls. Christ indwells us to be our life and everything, but He is also overseeing, observing, the condition and situation of our inner being. He shepherds us by caring for the welfare of our inner being and by exercising His oversight over the condition of our soul, our real person. (Crystallization-study of the Gospel of John, p. 132, by Witness Lee)
The Lord right now is in our spirit as the Shepherd of our souls; from there, He oversees our mind, emotion, and will, and according to what He sees, He cares for us. Primarily, the Lord cares for our soul, for He knows that in our soul we have suffering, hurt, offenses, and problems.
Whenever we have problems in our soul, the first casualty is that we lose the enjoyment of Christ in our souls. The Lord shepherds us by caring for the welfare of our soul and by exercising His oversight over the condition of our inner being.
While He’s managing the whole universe, He still has time, capacity, and willingness to shepherd our soul.
Because our soul is so complicated, we need Christ – who is the life-giving Spirit in our spirit – to shepherd us in our soul in order to take care of our mind, emotion, and will and our problems, needs, and wounds.
We may be offended and may not be able to forgive, being hurt inside – so we need to let the Lord shepherd our soul, heal our wound in life, and we will realize that forgiving is easy.
In the church life we do not have utopia – we are not in an ideal place, we unintentionally rub others’ disposition, we may offend others, etc so we need the Shepherd of our souls to shepherd us and heal us.
We need to come to Him and confess when we are hurt, offended, and broken, and as the Shepherd of our souls, the Lord will restore our soul and will give rest to our soul (see Psa. 23:3; Matt. 11:28-30).
Lord Jesus, we need You to shepherd our soul in order to take care of our mind, emotion, and will with all our problems, needs, hurts, and wounds. Keep us coming to You and opening to You concerning our problems, our longings, our wounds, and all our problems, so that You may shepherd our soul. Thank You, Lord, You oversee our inward condition and You care for the situation of our inner being. Make us one with You, Lord, to be those who oversee the saints’ situation and then shepherd them according to God!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Ron K. for this week, and portions from, Life-study of 1 Peter, msg. 21 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Ezekiel (1), msg. 11 (week 11), God’s Recovery by Life through His Shepherding.
- Hymns on this topic:
# My Shepherd Himself is my pasture, / My Shepherd, the waters of rest; / I eat of His riches in spirit, / I drink, and O how I am blest! / My Shepherd my soul is restoring, / My will, and emotion, and mind; / And though through the valley I’m walking, / O what a Companion I find! (Hymns #1170)
# Come and rejoice with me! / I, once so sick at heart, / Have met with One who knows my case, / And knows the healing art. (Hymns #285)
# Oh, Father thank You for Your Son, / He shares Your heart for us. / That gladly He would bear us to / The bosom of Your love. / No greater Shepherd could there be, / That He would not lose one! / And lead us all to dwell with You. / Sweet Pasture, Living Stream. (Song on the Lord as the shepherd)