““I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.””
John 10:11-18 NKJV
Good Friday, Good Shepherd
Today is Good Friday, the day we celebrate the death of Jesus on the cross. In reality, it was likely a Wednesday, but with changes of calendars and such over time, we call this the day the Lord has made, and we rejoice in it.
“I will praise You, For You have answered me, And have become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalms 118:21-24 NKJV
This the day that man was reconciled to a most Holy God, as the Good Shepherd completed His mission of gathering the sheep, and it was now time for Him to lay down His life. Jesus had lead those who had remained for three and a half years, and now it was nearing time to leave them. In a short time Jesus would be taken from them, tried, tortured and hung on a cross.
Up until the last moments, He taught His disciples of all that He had come to do, and sought to remind them that they should remember all these things in the days to come. He had been the Good Shepherd, and they knew Him. The message of Jesus would sustain them in the darkening days.
““If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”
John 14:15-18 NKJV
The message that Jesus had for His disciples in those final hours of His incarnation, have gaining relevance for those of us who have come since then. As they were beginning that journey of faith so long ago, we are taking those last steps, as we prepare for the eternity to come, and the return of Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, let us carry the message of that Good Friday, and our Good Shepherd in our hearts. Just as they would experience great hardship, we too will, as our world has become hostile to the Name of Jesus.
Let us be buoyed by the Helper, then merely a promise, but now a reality indwelling us. May we be faithful to go and tell in the face of great and brutal opposition of this salvation that has made us free.
““These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.”
John 14:25-28 NKJV
On this day the Lord had made, Jesus went to the cross for us, and took upon our sin. Because of Him, we can be made new. We are not abandoned, and even after nearly two thousand years, we still have the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Let us call upon our Good Shepherd with confidence, knowing that even now He is at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf, and that soon, very soon, He will receive us where He is.
We are waiting now, waiting for the Lord to blast through the atmosphere and reclaim His creation. Let us wait, and work, going out reclaiming creation one soul at a time. It is not a time to be caught upon in the uncertainty of these times, but to call upon the Lord and His word, being reminded of the certainty of His return.
Let us also be careful to avoid the counterfeit shepherds who are appearing almost daily seeking to draw the sheep away from the Good Shepherd. They are mere hirelings, having no concern for the flock. Let us mark them and avoid them.
Many more will appear the closer we get to the coming of the Lord.
It was a dark day nearly two thousand years ago, filled with tears, horror, and great fear, but…Sunday is coming!
The earth trembles
The sky grows dark
My King yields his spirit
Hope is lost
Death has won
Sin has conquered
and Satan’s just a laughin’
Jesus is buried
A soldier stands guard
And a rock is rolled into place
But it’s Friday
It is only Friday
Sunday is a comin’!
Have a Good, Good Friday!