Jesus is . . .

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“We’re New Testament people, we don’t need to read the Old Testament.” “I just want to know about Jesus, so I’ll stick with the New Testament.” Ever thought or said anything like that? I’ve heard it many times. As Christians – Christ’s followers – we are focused on only what Jesus did and taught.  But the Old Testament looks ahead to Jesus Christ.  Check it out:

In Genesis, He is the Seed of the woman who will one day crush the head of Satan.

In Exodus, He is the Passover Lamb and the one who leads His people out of bondage.

In Leviticus, He is the great high priest and the perfect sacrifice.

In Deuteronomy, he is the Great Prophet to come.

In Joshua, He is the Captain of the Lord’s host.

In Judges, He is the one who faithfully delivers His people from the cost of sin.

In Ruth, He is our Kinsman Redeemer.

He is the anointed King in the line of David in the books of Samuel.

In the books of the Kings, He is the Spirit filling the Temple.

He is the great Teacher in Ezra and the Restorer of broken walls in Nehemiah.

He is the Interceder for His people in Esther and the coming Redeemer in Job.

He is the Shepherd in Psalms and the Source of all wisdom in Proverbs.

He is the Teacher in Ecclesiastes.

He is the Beloved Bridegroom in the Song of Solomon.

In Isaiah, He is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace and Suffering Servant.

In Jeremiah and Lamentations, He is the Man acquainted with sorrows.

In Ezekiel, He brings life to dry bones.

In Daniel, He is the Ancient of Days.

He is the faithful Husband in Hosea, the Hope of His people in Joel, the Judge of the nations in Amos, and in Obadiah the One who warns of coming judgment.

In Jonah He is the preacher of the Good News, in Micah He is the Ruler from Bethlehem.

In Nahum, He is the judge of His people’s enemy,  the Sovereign Lord in Habakkuk, and in Zephaniah, He is the God who is mighty to save.

In Haggai He is the Glory of the House of God, in Zechariah He is the Royal Priest and in Malachi Jesus is the Son of Righteousness.

Beloved, if you want to know Jesus, read the Old Testament. He is all over the place.  Then read the New Testament with a fresh understanding of Jesus who was and is and is to come.

Lost and Found

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In Luke 15: 3-7 Jesus tells of a shepherd who leaves his safe flock to go after the one sheep who has wandered away. “And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home” (15:5-6a). The shepherd had ninety-nine other sheep, but his heart would not let him abandon the one who was lost.

Your Heavenly Father has the same heart for you. Whether you are in a place you never expected nor wanted to be, or you are in a season of life that is hard, painful, and seemingly unending, God has promised He will find you there and bring you safely home. In truth, He doesn’t have to look very hard, because you never left His sight when you wandered away. That’s because He never left your side. His promise is and always has been: “I will never leave you nor forsake you. Your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:5, 9). Wherever you and I go, if we are God’s children, He is with us. Even if you get caught up in the glamor of the world and wander, or you run away in outright rebellion. Even if I go so far away from His fold that it seems impossible to get back. No matter where we roam, in physical places or seasons of life, God’s heart never leaves us. He never forgets about His children.

Something else I noticed – probably because I’m extra aware of seeing my granddaughter’s name in the Scriptures – He brings the lost sheep home with Joy. Not begrudgingly, not with words of anger or impatience.  Not with frustration or resentment over the trouble the sheep caused. He’s just so happy to have His little lamb back with Him.

Are you in a difficult place? Are you in a hard season? Trust in God’s faithful love for you. Did you carelessly wander away because you were distracted by the glitter and lights of the world? Did you stomp your feet and run in rebellion. Beloved, God is not mad at you. He wants you to come home. Call His Name from wherever you are right now, then watch for His rescue. There is no place that His love will not reach.

The Lord is my Shepherd

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One of my favorite images of God is as my Shepherd.  I remember a painting at a church I once worked at of a sheep caught in the brush on the side of a steep cliff, not a secure place to be.  What drew my focus was the look of absolute peace on the animal’s face because it was watching the shepherd who had climbed down the cliff and was reaching out to rescue his little lost sheep.  He trusted his shepherd and was sure that he would be saved.  The Bible often describes God’s people as sheep and Himself as their Shepherd.  I read a book by a Phillip Keller, who had spent several years as a shepherd and put these passages into perspective.  Where we look at sheep and see sweet faces and fluffy white wool, a shepherd sees an animal who is helpless on his own and utterly clueless – the truth is sheep are dumb animals.  How does that make you feel now 😮 ?  Sheep tend to put their head down to graze and never watch where they’re going, never notice danger nearby and can graze their way right off the edge of a cliff.  Hmm – that sounds like me sometimes.  Sheep who get to close to the water’s edge often fall in, soaking their wool making them too heavy to climb out and they often drown.  Sounds a bit like us and sin doesn’t it? We are sheep – clueless, helpless, defenseless – and desperately in need of a shepherd. 

David identified the Lord as his Shepherd in whom he placed all his confidence.  He knew the Shepherd would meet his every need, whether for protection, comfort, food or rest.  Jesus reaffirmed that Shepherd identity in John 10:11 saying, “I am the Good Shepherd.”  The Good Shepherd knows His sheep, He knows their name, their habits, their character and how they get into trouble.  In Luke 15 we learn that a Good Shepherd will search for His lost sheep.  That’s comfort to the heart of this little lamb with a tendency to wander and lose my way.  When I am in danger from my own foolish actions, my Good Shepherd promises to find and rescue me.  The beauty of it is that we are never really out of His sight.  Where a human shepherd has to search before he can rescue, the Good Shepherd knows exactly where we are; we can be assured He is on His way. 

Rest yourself in the care of the Good Shepherd my friend, He knows you and loves you – so much that He gave His life to rescue you.  The Lord is my Shepherd, that’s all I need to know.