The Good Shepherd Canvas
“Yahweh is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).
Since last year, I have felt the Lord's urging to paint the next characteristic and Name of God. This time the prompting kept leading me back to His nature as our Good Shepherd. Over and over again, like a wonderful aroma you just can't escape, I would see references to this nature. And what better time to release and share about this Name of God, then now, right as Chanukah is starting. The very moment when Jesus first boldly claimed this identity inJohn 10, was during the Jewish Feast of Dedication, known today as Chanukkah or the Festival of Lights.
“I am the good Shepherd… The good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep”
Did you see the adjective? Literally it reads in the Greek text, “I am the Shepherd, the good” Good meaning noble, praiseworthy, beautiful, fair, or important! He is the shepherd of Ezekiel 34:15,
“I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and strong I will destroy. I will feed them justice.”
Now if He is our Good Shepherd, then of course we are his sheep! An unfortunate description, yet aptly chosen. Just like sheep, we are easily frightened, easily distracted, very needy and profoundly insecure. Aren't you grateful we have a Good Shepherd who loves us, guides us, takes care of us and gives us abundant life in Him?
During this Feast of Dedication, and celebration of the reinstitution of the sacrifice on the temple altar, Jesus declares he will offer his life as the once and for all sacrifice. Four months later during the Feast of Passover at the very time the Passover lambs were being sacrificed, Jesus becomes the ultimate and final “Passover Lamb.” As a good Shepherd, he becomes a lamb, and lays down his life for his sheep!