“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep." John 10:14-15
Thinking about faith leads us to think about Jesus - the one whom our faith is in. When Jesus says He is the good shepherd, His claim is based on relationship with His creation, us, His sheep! The Lord's desire for friendship is embedded in the claim "I know my own sheep". And because Jesus knows us, we know Jesus. Everything always starts with Christ and His 'knowing relationship' with us first - we are invited into this special relationship.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us that faith is not based on our knowledge or efforts, rather show us that obedience to the Lord was the evidence of faith. This principle has not changed since the Garden of Eden with the call to obey the Lord - and stay away from the tree of knowledge, in order to remain connected to the vine, the tree of life!
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. Heb 11:8
Abram did not know where he was going, but he obeyed, trusting the Lord and exercising faith.
Therefore we can have faith because Jesus, the Good Shepherd watches over us, even though we may not always 'know' everything. Instead, we are reminded of who Jesus is, and Jesus reminds us who we are. We are reminded that faith and who we are has nothing to do with knowledge or our efforts. But the simple response of 'Yes Lord', 'I trust you Lord', 'I will obey Lord'. As the bible says, faith is believing what we cannot see, and therefore an expression of surrender to the Good Shepherd, the one who gave His life for us. Hebrews says:
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. Heb 11:1-3
This week ahead, decide in your heart know Christ afresh. Determine to surrender your own fears and worries and concerns to the Good Shepherd who promises to watch over you. The Good Shepherd is concerned with your place in eternity, and concerned for you, where ever you are, right now! And when you hear the wolves howling around you in the night, remember that the Good Shepherd has already laid His life down for you and rescued youHave faith in the Good Shepherd.
Everyday, Jesus invites us to know Him, in the same way that Jesus knows the Father. This reality of relationship with Jesus is truly astounding....so this week, trust Him, and exercise your faith in the Good Shepherd.
Thoughts for further reflection
- What does it mean to grow in knowing Jesus more, and as a friend? What does this look like in your life?
- Where is the balance in your lief between knowing the Word, and doing the Word?
- Think about when Jesus carried you back to the flock and thank Him. Who are you praying for, that they might also know the Good Shepherd?
- What are the noises of wolves in your life, that seek to worry and create fear? And how does the Good Shepherd address these worries and fears?