Loved by the Good Shepherd
Paul Tautges has served Immanuel Bible Church in Sheboygan, Wisconsin as pastor since 1992. He is also an adjunct professor of biblical counseling and conference speaker. Paul has authored eight books including Counsel One Another, Comfort Those Who Grieve, The Discipline of Mercy, and Brass Heavens. He is also the editor of the popular Help! discipleship counseling booklet series (24 titles). Paul is a NANC Fellow and a Council Board member of the Biblical Counseling Coalition. He and his wife Karen are the parents of ten children. Paul blogs regularly at counselingoneanother.com.
- 2013 Aug 20
How the Holy Spirit brings comfort and assurance to my sometimes-frail faith through meditating on the love of Jesus Christ for sinners like you and me! Through repentant faith, He is not only my Lord and Savior, but my faithful Good Shepherd. By focusing my mind on the following passage from the Gospel of John my heart is continually ministered to through the words of Jesus.
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep." (John 10:11-15)
Here I feed my soul on four assurances.
- Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has already laid down His life for me (v. 11). When Jesus first spoke the words above His death was still in the future. He would lay down His life for His sheep. But that is done now. His sin-bearing and sin-paying work is complete and my sin debt is already paid in full (Hebrews 9:27-28). By consciously remembering this past demonstration of His great love, my heart is further assured of His continued love and care today...and everyday...into eternity.
- Jesus, the Good Shepherd, will not act like a hireling by leaving His sheep to the wolves (v. 12). Instead, my faithful Shepherd stays by my side. He will never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). He will never desert me or leave me to the Enemy of my soul.
- Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is committed to, and concerned, for me---just one of His many sheep (v. 13). The hireling flees because he is self-centered, but my Jesus continues to lead, feed, comfort, and discipline me. Why? Because His commitment to His sheep is not found in empty words, but in His deep promises.
- Jesus, the Good Shepherd, knows His sheep--in relationship--just as He knows the Father in relationship (vv. 14-15). Jesus knows those who are His own and those who are His own know Him. What a wonderful truth! Especially when He, in the very next verse, likens His relationship with us to His relationship with His Father, which has been for eternity. Growing in Christ is more than gaining Bible knowledge (as important as that may be). but includes a deepening intimacy with my Shepherd as I listen to His Word and find security in His love. I find great comfort and assurance in the fact that not only do I fervently desire deeper intimacy with my Savior, but He desires it with me.
Not only does He desire my greater good, but He does so for His own glory. One of the most glorious benedictions in Scripture assures us of this truth. Ponder these words:
Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21).
The Good Shepherd continues to love and care for those who repent and believe in His saving work and saving Name. When we set our mind on these things we find our heart resting securely in His love.