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40 Days of Hope
Saturday, April 6
The Good Shepherd
We return to the text from our sermon on Sunday. We have spent the entire week in Psalm 23. Today we are reminded of the nature of the relationship we have with Jesus. He is our Good Shepherd.
One of the aspects of this relationship is defined by the sacrifice Jesus has made on our behalf. He has proven to us that He is our Good Shepherd. He has laid down His life for us!
The story of redemption as revealed in Scripture is a love story. God never quits loving people. Even though humanity rebelled against Him and chose the path of sin over righteousness, God never quit loving. He never quit pursuing us. He put a plan in place to secure our salvation and redemption.
This plan had to be consistent with God’s nature and not compromise His holiness. It also had to be an expression of His grace and love. That is exactly what has happened. Sin had to be addressed. Atonement had to be made. Salvation had to be secured. A price had to be paid. But freedom had to be the result.
The Bible reveals the truths of this great plan of redemption. Sin separated us from God. The wages of sin is death. Only an atoning sacrifice of the highest order could rectify the effects of sin. The entire sacrificial system under the Old Covenant pointed to a greater expression in the New Covenant. Jesus communicated the depth of His understanding of this truth when He declared the New Covenant was instituted through His blood (Luke 22:20).
God the Father answered the dilemma of sinfulness by sending God the Son in the form of Jesus Christ. His Son lived a sinless life and became the spotless Lamb of God. Only He could offer Himself as a true sacrifice for the sinfulness of humanity. Like a truly Good Shepherd, He laid down His life for the sheep.
God accepted this sacrifice when, on the cross, Jesus declared, “It is finished”. The veil covering the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom because the Great High Priest had crossed the threshold to glory. Earthly sacrifices no longer needed to be made. The earthly high priests were now without a job, and the Most Holy Place was accessible to all of God’s people. Sinful humanity would now have the hope of rescue and redemption!
The Good Shepherd had given up His life. Now His sheep can follow Him into eternity!
Thank God today for the atoning sacrifice of our Savior, the Good Shepherd!