Ruler, King, & Shepherd
Throughout our series, The Prophets Foretold, we’ve heard the prophets talk about the hope of one who would bear our sin, the promise of a new kind of king, a different sort of ruler, and light that has pierced the dark. Now the prophet speak of a shepherd.
All of these images are ways of describing the Son of God who had come. Christ is the long-awaited King, our righteous Ruler, and the Good Shepherd. Each of these pictures points to the character of Christ and our responsibility as his followers!
Since He is our Ruler: We are to live in obedience to his commands.
Since He is our King: We benefit from his reign, but are also called to live according the ways of his kingdom.
Since He is our Shepherd: He watches over us with loving care. We have not been left on our own, but we must also recognize our need for Him.
In the ancient near east, kings were often referred to as shepherds. It’s a word picture that points to the responsibility of the king to watch over his people, guide them in right paths, and help protect them. However, it also says something about people – we tend to be sheep-like. And sheep are utterly dependent upon the shepherd. In other words, Christ isn’t an accessory to your life. He isn’t someone that only helps when you are in trouble. He isn’t just there to cover your sin to ensure a peaceful afterlife. He is our source of life and we need him every hour of every day.
He is certainly our Savior, but he is also our Ruler, King, and Shepherd.
The point I’m trying to make before you embark on a new year is this: The ways of Jesus are not idealistic ideas about the world, they are instructions for how life works best.
When Jesus commands us to love one another, it doesn’t just mean love those who are easy to love. It means we are to be marked by the way we demonstrate self-sacrificial love to others.
When he invites us to forgive others, that isn’t just a lofty idea of human relations. He means, as The Brilliance have so wonderfully written in their song, Brother, “Forgiveness is the garment of our courage; the power to make the peace we long to know.”
When Jesus calls us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, he knows that love and prayer are the antidotes to hate. Our world needs hate antidotes.
And when Jesus says blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted, blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy, and blessed are those are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God, he’s serious. Those are cute words that point to a world that doesn’t exist. They are words that challenge us to the core and beg the question, “Are we taking Jesus seriously?”
As the people of Jesus we are to take Jesus seriously as our LORD, our King, and our Shepherd, not just our Savior.
To explore more about what it means for Christ to be our shepherd, ruler, and king, click on the resources below from Emmaus Road Church, one of many great churches in Fort Collins.