Lunched and Oiled by Jesus - Discover the Book Ministries

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Lunched and Oiled by Jesus

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  • Itis significant that twice John mentioned the factt hat Jesus gave thanks (John 6:11, 23). Matthew, Mark, and Luke all state that Jesus looked up to heaven when He gave thanks. By that act, He reminded the hungry people that God is the source of all good and needful gifts. This is a good lesson for us: instead of complaining about what we do not have, we should give thanks to God for what we do have, and He will make it go farther.244
  • HowlikemanyofGod’speopletoday.Forsomereason,itisnevertherighttime or place for God to work. Jesus watched His frustrated disciples as they tried to solve the problem, but “He Himself knew what He was intending to do” (John 6:6,NASB). He wanted to teach them a lesson in faith and surrender. Note the steps we must take in solving life’s problems.

? Start with what you have.
? Give what you have to Jesus. ? Obey what He commands.

  • Jesus still has compassion on the hungry multitudes, and He still says to His church: “Give them something to eat.” How easy it is for us to send people away, to make excuses, to plead a lack of resources. Jesus asks that we give Him all that we have and let Him use it as He sees fit. A hungry world is feeding on empty substitutes while we deprive them of the Bread of Life. When we give Christ what we have, we never lose. We always end up with more blessing than when we started.245
  1. John 6 makes it clear that the miracle of the feeding ofthe 5,000 was a sermon in action. Christ, through His Word, is the Bread of Life on whom we feed. It is the privilege—and responsibility—of His servants to give this bread to the hungry multitudes. The servants receive that bread personally from Christ, then pass it on to others. There are other lessons from this miracle:

? Christ can take our little and make it much.
? Whatever He blesses, He breaks. Are we willing to be broken? ? People today are in the wilderness of sin (v. 15) and need Christ. ? Christ can overcome every difficulty and feed the multitudes. The

disciples had many excuses—not enough money, the wrong place, the wrong time—but Christ took what they had and met the need. He will do this today!246

  • Barley bread was the cheapest and the coarsest of all bread. They had two fishes, which would be about the size of sardines. Tarichaea—which means the salt-fish town—was a well known place on the lake from which salt-fish went out to all over the world. The little salt-fishes were eaten as relish with the dry rolls. If we put ourselves into the hands of Jesus Christ, there is no telling what he can do with us and through us.247
  • Thus, the setting of the miracles, the participants, and the manner in which the miracles were performed consistently pointed to a greater spiritual revelation than is apparent at first sight. This is certainly true in the case of the feeding of the 5,000. It teaches far more than Jesus’ power, for it presents him as a second Moses who brings salvation to his people. We see this for several reasons.
    • ?  The location of the miracles before a great crowd in a “solitary place” (literally, “a desert place”) was parallel to the wilderness in which Moses performed his miracles.
    • ?  Jesus’ proclaiming himself the Bread of Heaven corresponded to the manna.
    • ?  The orderliness of the people in seated regimentation before receiving the bread was reminiscent of the Mosaic camp in the wilderness.
    • ?  The provision of food by Jesus symbolized what it symbolized with

? This great miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 teaches us how the second Moses, being far greater than Moses, meets the needs of his people and

indeed the whole world.

  • A God who can do that can do anything! Think about it: Jesus with a word multiplied the molecular structure of those humble barley cakes and pickled fish! It is this creation power that he brings to our lives. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  • Nothing is impossible physically or spiritually for Jesus Christ. No one is beyond his redemption. Christian, if you are willing, there is no moral flaw in your life which God cannot heal.
  • Christ’s provision was and is complete, total, and satisfying.
  • This gives us some grand insights into participating in God’s program. First, we understand that God wants to use us to bring the Bread of Life to a needy world. He can do perfectly well without us if he chooses to do so. He did not need the little boy’s bread. He did not need to use his disciples to distribute it. He could have done it all and had it float down to the group of fifties and hundreds on pink parachutes. But wonder of wonder, he delights in including us in his work! “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
  • Second, we learn from this that he can use a very small thing if it is committed to him. It has been said: “God must delight in using ordinary people with ordinary gifts because he made so many of us!”
  • God uses common clay jars like us so that there will be no mistake as to where the power comes from. We so often think he wants and needs our strengths, and he does use them when they are committed to him. But what about our barley loaves, our ordinariness, our weaknesses? The truth is, these are harder to give to God. If you are eloquent, it is easy to say, “God, here is my eloquence. Take and use it.” If you are a good business person, it is simple to say, “God, you can have my administrative ability.” But it is another thing to give God your weaknesses. Elizabeth Elliot expresses the idea this way:
  • If the only thing you have to offer is a broken heart, you offer a broken heart. So in a time of grief, the recognition that this is material for sacrifice has been a very great strength for me. Realizing that nothing I have, nothing I am will be refused on the part of Christ I simply give it to Him as the little boy gave Jesus his five loaves and two fishes— with the same feeling of the disciples when they said, “What is the good of that for such a crowd?” Naturally in almost anything I offer to Christ, my reaction would be, “What is the good of that?” The point is, the use He makes of it is His blessing.
  1. One final point: Jesus only worked when the loaves were put into his hands in willing consecration. We are only required to bring what we have. Will you give? This is the way the Bread of Life goes out to the world.

Remember how simple were Christ’s offers:
? To the seeking He said COME to ME John 5:40 yet you refuse to come to me

to have life.
? To the hungry He said EAT ME John 6:48-51 I am the bread of life. 49 Your

forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

? To the thirsting He said drink me John 7:37-38 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”

? To the fearful He said trust me (Ann Landers says she gets 10,000 letters per day and the vast majority are expressing fear of death, disease, disaster, despair, desolation, debt, etc.) John 8:51-52 I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” 52 At this the Jews exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death.

I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE

So what does Jesus say in John 6:48? I AM the Bread of LIFE. I am all you ever need. And, just like the bread of God that came down from heaven, I can deliver my bread of life anywhere you ever get! WOW!

Twenty-three times in all we find our Lord’s meaningful “I AM” (?????? ?, Gr.) in the Greek text of this gospel (4:26; 6:20,35,41,48,51; 8:12,18,24,28,58; 10:7,9,11,14; 11:25; 13:19; 14:6; 15:1,5; 18:5,6,8). In several of these, He joins His “I AM” with seven tremendous metaphors which are expressive of His saving relationship toward the world. IN other words, the Christian life may be described in these seven declarations of Jesus. A believer is described by Jesus in seven profound ways. The perfection of Christ our God is seen in the seven “I AM’S” in John’s record of Christ’s life and ministry. Christ has given His own eternal life (John 17:2), but He has also given them the revelation of the Father’s name (John 17:6). The Old Testament Jew knew his God as “Jehovah,” the great I AM (Ex. 3:11–14). Jesus took this sacred name “I AM” and made it meaningful to His disciples: “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35); “I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12); “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11); etc. In other words, Jesus revealed the Father’s gracious name by showing His disciples that He was everything they needed.

  • ABelieveris:HUNGERINGFORJESUSASMYBREADOFLIFE.“IAM the Bread of life” (6:35,41,48,51).
  • ABelieveris:WALKINGWITHJESUSWHOLIGHTSMYPATHOFLIFE.“I AM the Light of the world” (8:12).
  • A Believer is: ENTERING THROUGH JESUS WHO IS MY DOOR TO LIFE. “I AM the Door of the sheep” (10:7,9).
  • A Believer is: STAYING WITH THE GOOD SHEPHERD WHO IS THE SAVIOR OF MY LIFE. “I AM the Good Shepherd” (10:11,14).

12.A Believer is: RESTING IN JESUS WHOSE RESURRECTION GAVE ME ENDLESS LIFE. “I AM the Resurrection and the Life” (11:25).

  • A Believer is: FOLLOWING THE WAY OF JESUS, BELIEVING THE TRUTH OF JESUS, AND LIVING THE LIFE OF JESUS. “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (14:6).
  • A Believer is: ABIDING IN JESUS WHO IS MY SUPPLY OF ALL I EVER NEED. “I AM the true Vine” (15:1,5). Psalm 92
  1. IAMTHEBREADOFLIFE(6:35)-HeFEEDSOURSTARVINGSOULS,butapart from Him is only unsatisfied hunger. The internal gnawing pain that hunger brings is the illustration of our condition apart from Christ. He alone feeds our soul and satisfies our hungers, all else is emptiness, hopelessness and empty mirages. Jesus said I am your food that satisfies, I am the Bread you need. I have settled the longings of your soul, I can satisfy all the hungers of your life. What do you really hunger for?
  2. IAMTHELIGHTOFWORLD(8:12)-HeLIGHTSOURDARKENEDSOULS,but apart from Him is only impenetrable darkness. Jesus said I am the Light, I have settled the darkness of fear, the darkness of death, the darkness of dying, it is all settled by Me!
  3. I AM THE DOOR OF LIFE TO MY SHEEP (10:7,9) – He INVITES us lost sheep back into God’s Family, but apart from Him is only hopeless exclusion. Jesus said I am the Door of Life, all your security and access needs are settled, by Me! In the ancient world there were sheep folds built of stones or made from caves, dotting the hills and valleys of Israel. The door was made so that the shepherd himself would lay down at night and become the door so that no sheep could wander out without stumbling over him and no predator could slip in without stirring him. So Jesus says I keep you safe from harm and secure from wandering away from my salvation!
  4. I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD (10:11) – He LEADS US HOME, but apart from Him

is only aimless wandering. Jesus said I am the Good Shepherd who died, I have settled the issue of the unknown. I am your companion through life and death. Jesus gives us the perfect example of how to live and how to die!

  1. I AM THE RESURRECTION AND LIFE (11:25) – He pours upon US endless LIFE, but apart from Him is only endless dying. Jesus says I am the Resurrection, I am the Life. I have settled the issue of Hope, you can count on me, hope in me all through life and into death!
  2. I AM THE WAY, TRUTH & LIFE (14:6) – He secures us in the way of endless life, but apart from Him is only endless lostness. Jesus said I am the way, I have settled the issue of your home. I am making it, your very own room, and the minute that it is ready I am coming to get you!
  3. I AM THE TRUE VINE (15:1) – He NURTURES us through life, apart from Him is only continual withering. Jesus says I am the Vine, your source of life and health. The state of your health is all in my hands. I will provide for you living grace, enduring declining life grace, and dying grace. Each just when you need them! If the vine speaks of all of life as one growing season, then we should get more fruit filled the older we get (ala Psalm 92), if it is many seasons then life is a succession of growing /pruning /bearing /resting and then growing/pruning…

Now this morning, meet Jesus who is the great I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE!

Jesus Feeds the Multitude (John 6:1–14)

The problem, of course, was how to meet the needs of such a vast crowd of people. Four solutions were proposed.

First, the disciples suggested that Jesus send the people away (Mark 6:35–36). Get rid of the problem (see Matt. 15:23). But Jesus knew that the hungry people would faint on the way if somebody did not feed them. It was evening (Matt. 14:15), and that was no time for travel.

The second solution came from Philip in response to our Lord’s “test question” (John 6:5): raise enough money to buy food for the people. Philip “counted the cost” and decided they would need the equivalent of 200 days’ wages! And even that would not provide bread enough to satisfy the hunger of all the men, women, and children (Matt. 14:21). Too often, we think that money is the answer to every need. Of course, Jesus was simply testing the strength of Philip’s faith.

The third solution came from Andrew, but he was not quite sure how the problem would be solved. He found a little boy who had a small lunch: two little fish and five barley cakes. Once again, Andrew is busy bringing somebody to Jesus (see John 1:40–42; 12:20–22). We do not know how Andrew met this lad, but we are glad he did! Though Andrew does not have a prominent place in the Gospels, he was apparently a “people person” who helped solve problems.

The fourth solution came from our Lord, and it was the true solution. He took the little boy’s lunch, blessed it, broke it, handed it out to His disciples, and they fed the whole crowd! The miracle took place in the hands of the Saviour, not in the hands of the disciples. He multiplied the food; they only had the joyful privilege of passing it out. Not only were the people fed and satisfied, but the disciples salvaged twelve baskets of fragments for future use. The Lord wasted nothing.

The practical lesson is clear: whenever there is a need, give all that you have to Jesus and let Him do the rest. The question is not what can I do with the lunch, but what can God do with the lunch! Begin with what you have, but be sure you give it all to Him. That little lad is to be commended for sharing his lunch with Christ, and his mother is to be commended for giving him something to give to Jesus. The gift of that little snack meant as much to Jesus as the pouring out of the expensive ointment (John 12:1ff).

But did Jesus really perform a miracle? Perhaps the generosity of the boy only embarrassed the other people so that they brought out their hidden lunches and shared them all around. Nonsense! Jesus knows the hearts of men (John 2:24; 6:61, 64, 70) and He declared that the people were hungry. Surely He would have known of the existence of hidden food! Furthermore, the people themselves declared that this was a miracle and even wanted to crown Him King! (John 6:14–16) Had this event been only the result of mass psychology, the crowd would not have responded that way. John would never have selected this as one of the “signs” if it were not an authentic miracle. It is significant that twice John mentioned the fact that Jesus gave thanks (John 6:11, 23). Matthew, Mark, and Luke all state that Jesus looked up to heaven when He gave thanks. By that act, He reminded the hungry people that God is the source of all good and needful gifts. This is a good lesson for us: instead of complaining about what we do not have, we should give thanks to God for what we do have, and He will make it go farther.248

How like many of God’s people today. For some reason, it is never the right time or place for God to work. Jesus watched His frustrated disciples as they tried to solve the problem, but “He Himself knew what He was intending to do” (John 6:6,NASB). He wanted to teach them a lesson in faith and surrender. Note the steps we must take in solving life’s problems.

Start with what you have. Andrew found a lad who had a small lunch, and he brought the lad to Jesus. Was the boy willing to give up his lunch? Yes, he was! God begins where we are and uses what we have.

Give what you have to Jesus. Jesus took the simple lunch, blessed it, and shared it. The miracle of multiplication was in His hands! “Little is much if God is in it.” Jesus broke the bread and gave the pieces to the disciples, and they, in turn, fed the multitudes.

Obey what He commands. The disciples had the people sit down as Jesus ordered. They took the broken pieces and distributed them, and discovered that there was plenty for everybody. As His servants, we are “distributors,” not “manufacturers.” If we give what we have to Him, He will bless it and give it back to us for use in feeding others.

Conserve the results. There were twelve baskets filled with pieces of bread and fish after the people had eaten all they wanted. But these pieces were carefully collected so that nothing was wasted (Mark 6:43; John 6:12). I wonder how many of the pieces the lad took back home with him? Imagine his mother’s amazement when the boy told her the story!

The Apostle John recorded a sermon on “the Bread of life” that Jesus gave the next day in the synagogue in Capernaum (John 6:22ff). The people were willing to receive the physical bread, but they would not receive the living Bread—the Son of God come down from heaven. The miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 was actually a sermon in action. Jesus is the Bread of Life, and only He can satisfy the spiritual hunger in man’s heart. The tragedy is, men waste their time and money on “that which is not bread” (Isa. 55:1–7). People today are making the same mistake.
Jesus still has compassion on the hungry multitudes, and He still says to His church: “Give them something to eat.” How easy it is for us to send people away, to make excuses, to plead a lack of resources. Jesus asks that we give Him all that we have and let Him use it as He sees fit. A hungry world is feeding on empty substitutes while we deprive them of the Bread of Life. When we give Christ what we have, we never lose. We always end up with more blessing than when we started.249

John 6 makes it clear that the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 was a sermon in action. Christ, through His Word, is the Bread of Life on whom we feed. It is the privilege—and responsibility—of His servants to give this bread to the hungry multitudes. The servants receive that bread personally from Christ, then pass it on to others.

There are other lessons from this miracle:

  • (6)  Christ can take our little and make it much.
  • (7)  Whatever He blesses, He breaks. Are we willing to be broken?
  • (8)  People today are in the wilderness of sin (v. 15) and need Christ.
  • (9)  Christ can overcome every difficulty and feed the multitudes. The disciples had

many excuses—not enough money, the wrong place, the wrong time—but Christ took what they had and met the need. He will do this today!250

And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” And ordering the multitudes to recline on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave to the multitudes, and they all ate, and were satisfied. And they picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. And there were about five thousand men who ate, aside from women and children. (14:18-21)

Here is the primary focus of the story, in which the disciples’ dullness of perspective is overruled by Jesus’ display of power.

No doubt with sadness in His eyes, Jesus said, “Bring them here to Me,” referring to the loaves and fish. He had to tell the disciples to do what, by this time, should have been second nature to them. He was saying, in effect, “I knew that you did not have sufficient food or money to feed the people, and I knew that you had no way of getting it. I never expected you to feed them from your own resources or by your own power. In asking you to feed them I was asking you to trust Me. Without having to tell you, I was giving you the opportunity to bring to Me what little you had and trust Me for the rest.”

The northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee is often beautiful and green with grass in the spring of the year. But instead of sitting, the people had been standing up in order to see and hear and Jesus better. He therefore ordered the multitudes to recline on the grass, to make themselves more comfortable and to make distribution of the
f o o d e a s i e r . H e s a t t h e m ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? (?w h i c h l i t e r a l l y m e a n s “ g a r d e n b e d b y garden bed”), in groups of hundreds and fifties (Mark 6:40), allowing paths between the groups for the disciples to walk while serving. In their brightly-colored garments the crowd must have resembled an enormous mosaic of flower beds or a gigantic quilt spread across the hillside.

The people probably had little if any idea why they were so carefully seated in groups. The disciples may have guessed why, but they still did not know how. When the people were seated, Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish; but before He performed the miracle He had planned all along, looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, giving thanks to His heavenly Father (John 6:6, 11; cf. 1 Tim. 4:3-5).

Then the Lord broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, who, in turn, gave to the multitudes, and they all ate. We are not told exactly at what moment the miracle took place. Apparently it was a continuous multiplication that occurred as the disciples walked among the groups distributing the food. The men could not possibly have carried containers large enough to hold all the food, even with it divided into twelve parts. There was no fanfare and no dramatic change from little to much. The miracle was all but invisible, its magnitude being evident only as the thousands of people all ate.

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?to be satisfied) was used of animals who stayed at the feed trough until they wanted nothing more to eat. Jesus uses the same term in the Beatitudes when He promises that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness “shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6). Because the multiplied barley loaves and fish were divinely created, the satisfaction the people experienced must have been like no other in their lives. This food was perfect, not tainted by the Fall and its consequent corruption of all the earth through sin.

There was more than enough food to satisfy the multitudes, and a considerable amount was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. After the food had been distributed among the groups, each disciple had a basket of food left for himself, out of which he could share with Jesus! In the great economy of God, there was neither too little nor too much.

As already noted, the fact that there were about five thousand men who ate, aside from women and children, indicates the total crowd could have been as large as twenty-five thousand.251

It is a notable fact that no miracle seems to have made such an impression on the disciples as this, because this is the only miracle of Jesus which is related in all four gospels. We have already seen how Mark’s gospel really embodies the preaching material of Peter. To read this story, so simply and yet so dramatically told, is to read something that reads exactly like an eye-witness account. Let us note some of the vivid and realistic details.

They sat down on the green grass. It is as if Peter was seeing the whole thing in his mind’s eye again. It so happens that this little descriptive phrase provides us with quite a lot of information. The only time when the grass would be green would be in the late springtime, in mid-April. So it is then that this miracle must have taken place. At that time the sun set at 6 p.m., so this must have happened some time in the late afternoon.

Mark tells us that they sat down in sections of a hundred and of fifty. The word used for sections (? ? ? ? ? ? ? ) is a very pictorial word. It is the normal Greek word for the rows of vegetables in a vegetable garden. When you looked at the little groups, as they sat there in their orderly rows, they looked for all the world like the rows of vegetables in a series of garden plots.

At the end they took up twelve basketsful of fragments. No orthodox Jew travelled without his basket (????????). The Romans made a jest of the Jew and his basket. There were two reasons for the basket which was a wicker-work affair shaped like a narrow-necked pitcher, broadening out as it went down. First, the very orthodox Jew carried his own food supplies in his basket, so that he would be certain of eating food that was ceremonially clean and pure. Second, many a Jew was an accomplished beggar, and into his basket went the proceeds of his begging. The reason that there were twelve baskets is simply that there were twelve disciples. It was into their own baskets that they frugally gathered up the fragments so that nothing would be lost.

The wonderful thing about this story is that all through it runs an implicit contrast between the attitude of Jesus and the attitude of the disciples.

(i) It shows us two reactions to human need. When the disciples saw how late it was, and how tired and hungry the crowd were, they said, “Send them away so that they can find something to eat.” In effect they said, “These people are tired and hungry. Get rid of them and let someone else worry about them.” Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” In effect Jesus said, “These people are tired and hungry. We must do something about it.” There are always the people who are quite aware that others are in difficulty and trouble, but who wish to push the responsibility for doing something about it on to someone else; and there are always the people who when they see someone up against it feel compelled to do something about it themselves. there are those who say, “Let others worry.” And there are those who say, “I must worry about my brother’s need.”

(ii) It shows us two reactions to human resources. When the disciples were asked to give the people something to eat, they insisted that ten pounds, or what the Authorized Version calls two hundred “pence” was not enough to buy bread for them. The word the Authorized Version translates penny is denarius. This was a Roman silver coin worth about 31⁄2p. It was the standard day’s wage of a working man. In effect the disciples were saying, “We could not earn enough in more than six months’ work to give this crowd a meal.” They really meant “Anything we have got is no use at all.”

Jesus said, “What have you got?” They had five loaves. These were not like English loaves: they were more like rolls. John (6:9) tells us they were barley loaves; and barley loaves were the food of the poorest of the poor. Barley bread was the cheapest and the coarsest of all bread. They had two fishes, which would be about the size of sardines. Tarichaea—which means the salt-fish town—was a well known place on the lake from which salt-fish went out to all over the world. The little salt-fishes were eaten as relish with the dry rolls.

It did not seem much. But Jesus took it and worked wonders with it. In the hands of Jesus little is always much. We may think that we have little of talent or substance to give to Jesus. That is no reason for a hopeless pessimism such as the disciples had. The one fatal thing to say is, “For all I could do, it is not worth my while trying to do anything.” If we put ourselves into the hands of Jesus Christ, there is no telling what he can do with us and through us.252

Lessons253 from the Land of the Book I am like a sheep

But254 why does God call us His sheep?
Maybe because sheep are such wonderful animals.

Or it may be, however, because sheep are the most helpless animals.
1. SHEEPAREUTTERLYHELPLESSandcannotfindtheirwaywithoutaguide….

Though there be pasture within easy reach, the sheep is apparently incapable of

finding it for itself. It must have a guide. So God, looking at stupid, lost humanity,

said, “All they like sheep have gone astray.”

  • SheepareamongtheMOSTTENDEROFCREATURES,alwayssufferinghurtand

pain.

  • SHEEPAREEXTREMELYVULNERABLEtheycan’ttellthedifferencebetween

poisonous and non-poisonous plants so they are easily sickened by improper

eating habits.

  • SHEEP ARE AMONG THE DIRTIEST ANIMALS associated with man. The natural

tendency of wool in its raw and wild state is to pick up any defilement with which it comes into contact. There is a very unpleasant odor that is natural to the sheep. Mud dries on the pelt of the sheep in the most bedraggled patterns imaginable. The adherence of the mud is persistent. No matter how dry it may become, it does not seem to powder and fall away. Above all creatures that are associated with the life of man, the sheep in unquestionably the dirtiest. The poet who sings the praise of the snow-white sheep rarely sees them in their typical natural conditions, journeying together in great flocks. The dust of their passage adheres to their person until they become as brown as the terrain over which they travel.

  • SHEEPAREOFTENMINDLESStheywillallbegintofollowonerestlesslamb even if it is away from the flock and shepherd. When one aged ewe sinks in tiredness to rest and chew often they all sink to the ground and follow suit for no reason than that they are followers of almost anything.
  • Of all the creatures in the world, THE SHEEP HAS THE GREATEST NEED OF CLEANSING. So God looked at pitiable humanity, foul and unclean, bearing the marks of their passage through centuries of sin, and said, “We will call them sheep.”
  • SheepareoneofthefewanimalsTOTALLYINCAPABLEOFSELF-CLEANSING. The dirtier a sheep gets, the more helpless it becomes. In this respect it seems to be below the hog. Many times we have seen a pig rubbing its person against the lower railing of the fence, scratching off the caked mud – but a sheep, never. So God looked at poor faulty humanity and said, “If We don’t clean them, they’ll never be cleansed. We will call them Our sheep.”

The Lord is…

I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD (10:11) – JESUS IS ALL I NEED TO MAKE IT THROUGH LIFE AND GET TO MY HEAVENLY HOME, apart from Him is only aimless wandering.

  • ?  Jesus said I am the Good Shepherd who died; I have settled the issue of the unknown.
  • ?  I am your companion through life and death.
  • ?  Jesus gives us the perfect example of how to live and how to die!
  • ?  Believers are FOLLOWING THE GOOD SHEPHERD WHO IS THE SAVIOR OF MY LIFE. “I AM the Good Shepherd” (10:11,14).

Jesus has three magnificent titles as God’s chosen Shepherd in the New Testament.

  • InJohn10:11HeisintroducedastheGoodShepherdwhodiesforHissheep.

He came as God’s Prophet and died as predicted in Psalm 22.

  • InHebrews13:20HeisintroducedastheGreatShepherdwholivesforHis

Sheep. He lives as God’s Priest in the present making intercession for us as

described in all present tenses in Psalm 23.

  • In 1st Peter 5:4 He is introduced as the Chief Shepherd who returns for His

sheep. He will return as God’s King as Psalm 24 promises.

Three thousand years ago David said that the Lord is my Shepherd, two thousand years ago Jesus said I am the Good Shepherd. Today shepherds have changed little, sheep have changed less, and the Lord hasn’t changed at all!

Shepherds were the lowest profession of the ancient world. That is why Pharaoh had nothing to do with sheep or shepherds, and had them sent to a separate place. That is why they were unclean in Pharisaic Judaism. Some of earth’s greatest names were shepherds: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and God!

God is a Shepherd. What amazement to the flaming hosts of Heaven that the Ancient of Days enthroned in Holiness would leave the Throne to roam the hillsides of Judea and Samaria to Guide and protect His flock called Israel.

OUR GOOD SHEPHERD JESUS IS THE GREAT I AM

  • Jehovah-Raah(TheLordtheShepherd–Psalm23:1)TheLordismy shepherd. Jesus says I AM your SHEPHERD.
  • Jehovah-Jireh (The Lord will provide – Genesis 22:13-14) I shall not want. As the Good Shepherd Jesus says I AM your PROVIDER
  • Jehovah-Shalom(TheLordourpeace–Judges6:24)Hemakesmetolie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. As the Good Shepherd Jesus says I AM your PEACE
  • Jehovah-Rapha(TheLordwillrestoreorheal–Exodus15:26)Herestoresmy soul; As the Good Shepherd Jesus says I AM your RESTORER
  • Jehovah-Tsidkenu(TheLordourrighteousness–Jeremiah23:6)Heleadsme in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. As the Good Shepherd Jesus says I AM your RIGHTEOUSNESS
  • Jehovah-Nissi(TheLordourbanner–Ex.17:8-15)Yea,thoughIwalkthrough the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. As the Good Shepherd Jesus says I AM your VICTORY.
  1. Jehovah-Shammah (The Lord is present there – Ezekiel 48:35) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. As the Good Shepherd Jesus says I AM your Ever Present God.

MY Shepherd…

THE GOOD SHEPHERD KNOWS HIS SHEEP

Sheep are the most often spoken of animal in God’s Word. The words for sheep number 600 times in God’s Word, if herds and flocks are added they number 1,000 plus! In the Old Testament world a bunch of sheep was less than 100 sheep, a flock of sheep numbered 100 to 1,000. A band of sheep was more than 1,000 and would often stretch for miles. But the Lord is MY Shepherd; though there may be dozens, hundreds or even thousands in a large flock (or band) each one was uniquely known by the shepherd. But though there were countless sheep, there is always only one shepherd! Jesus is the One Shepherd of His One Flock! And to think that the Great God and Creator of this Universe watches over me like a shepherd. So that I can know what He is like He used a term I can study and understand.

As an ancient shepherd watched over every event in the life of his sheep from being there at their birth, watching over them in helplessness of infancy, watching them grow and learn, guarding them as they slept, checking their health, nursing their wounds, pulling their thorns, setting their broken bones, leading them through dangers, guiding them to unfouled waters, and finally finding the kindest and swiftest way to end their life at the most appropriate moment of either weakness, sickness or health.

And to think that is how closely my Good Shepherd is watching over me! He knows my date of birth, weight, pulse, biopsy report, blood pressure, and date of death.
He is my Good Shepherd!

An Ancient Shepherd was active in every phase of a sheep’s life: from its birth – serving as midwife, to its death – when he devises he swiftest and most painless death possible. He provides food. He gently pulls thorns from its fleece and thistles from its paws. He painlessly shears wool from its body – and even gently sets leg bones when they are broken. Sheep often nuzzle their shepherd as their own limited expression of gratitude.

My Shepherd knows me in every phase of my life. He knows my name.
He knows my need.
He knows my wants.

He knew me before I was born.
He shaped me in my mother’s womb.

He assisted in my delivery.
He knows my thoughts before I think them, my words before I speak them, and my actions before I perform them.
He has counted every hair on my head, measured my height, monitors my blood pressure and heartbeat, remembers my date of birth, knows my date of death and has even made provision for that event!

The Lord is MY Shepherd, it is personal. But even greater Jesus claims us as His. To claim the Lord as Shepherd is the supreme act of faith. To be claimed by the Lord as His sheep is the ultimate act of grace. He is MY Shepherd.

I shall not want!

THE GOOD SHEPHERD PROVIDES FOR THE NEEDS OF HIS SHEEP

Sheep need very little.
They need food, water, rest, and protection

All sheep must have four needs met to survive. They must be:
13.Free from fear of predators like wolves, cougars, dogs, snakes, and bears or

they will neither eat nor rest.
14.Free from friction with the other members of the flock or they disturb, agitate

and trouble all of the other sheep as they try to eat and rest.
15.Free from hunger or they are so restless that they wander, lead others astray or

just wear themselves out and become easy prey for predators and dangers. 16.Free from the constant pests of flies (black, bot, warble, dear, nasal), gnats,

ticks, flukes, wounds, poisonous weeds.

THE GOOD SHEPHERD MAKES HIS SHEEP CONTENT

The two strands of this Psalm are: “The Lord is my Shepherd” and the fitting response to this wonderful relationship “I shall not want”. Contented sheep are the mark of a skilled shepherd. Contented believers are the testimony of a satisfying Good Shepherd. One friend in ministry once wrote these words describing his elderly grandmother. Think of her and then think of your own life and love for our Good and satisfying Shepherd.

A lasting memory for me is of my grandmother serenely sitting in the family rocking chair, peering through dime store glasses at the large print of a big Bible on her lap.

She was old, diabetic, widowed, and poor. Her little house consisted of a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bath. Her church was across the street.

She walked two blocks to cash her meager welfare check and pay her utilities. Her groceries were delivered to the back door.

Her kitchen stove burned wood. Her oil heat needed constant regulating. The uncarpeted floor was always drafty. The roof leaked. The lawn was in need of care.

She had buried parents, husband, two of her twelve children, and even some of her grandchildren. All of her living children had long since left town – many of them hundreds of miles away.

But I never heard her complain. She was content. Whenever I’d ask if I could get her anything, the answer was always the same: “I have everything I need.”

In this greedy grasping world of ours, that sort of contentment is rare. That kind of contentment is irresistible attractive to the people of the world who think that wealth consists of the abundance of things, rather than the absence of wants255.

Sheep are always branded by their owners. In modern times it is most often by cutting marks into their ears. Other methods are also used, maybe the burn of a branding iron, marks dyed on the skin, or a notch cut in an ear. The sheep were always recognized by their brand. As God’s sheep we also are known by our brand. Contentment, that supernatural strength to live with little and be satisfied, is the mark of Christ’s sheep! I shall not want simple means I have everything I need!

THE GOOD SHEPHERD MAKES SURE HIS SHEEP ARE LACKING NOTHING

The theme of Christ’s Good Shepherding is that He frees us from all want. If the Lord is my Shepherd I shall not be in want.

  • WhenIfollowJesusasmyGoodShepherdISHALLNOTLACKRESTFORI LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES.
  • WhenIfollowJesusasmyGoodShepherdISHALLNOTLACKLIFEFORHE RESTORES MY SOUL.
  • WhenIfollowJesusasmyGoodShepherdISHALLNOTLACKGUIDANCE FOR HE GUIDES ME IN THE PATHS.
  • WhenIfollowJesusasmyGoodShepherdISHALLNOTLACKSAFETYFOR YOU WALK ME THROUGH THE VALLEY. Note that the fearfulness of the dark valley causes a change from 3rd person “he” to 2nd person “you”. What has changed? The weak and needy sheep need the close presence of the shepherd.

So we especially experience Christ’s presence in those valleys!

  • WhenIfollowJesusasmyGoodShepherdISHALLNOTLACKPROVISIONS

BECAUSE YOU PREPARE A TABLE BEFORE ME.

  • WhenIfollowJesusasmyGoodShepherdISHALLNOTLACKHEAVENLY

HOME FOR I WILL DWELL IN HIS HOUSE FOREVER.

If sheep are not checked they develop infections in their wounds.
If they are not guided they drink fouled water and develop liver flukes that slowly kill them.
If they are not oiled in the summer with special oils they are distracted to sickness and even death by the nasal flies that lay eggs in the soft tissue of their noses. The eggs hatch into larvae which burrow up into their sinuses and cause they run hit their head on rocks, rub their noses until their raw, or even get infected to the point of blindness and even death.

Ancient and modern shepherds have made oil with sulfur and spices that repels the flies, prevents the eggs from being laid, and calms the sheep in the summer “fly season”. Without protection the sheep are irritable, fearful, and restless. They run from the flies, tossing their heads for hours, rubbing their heads, hiding in bushes and just acting panicked. This leads to lack of nourishment, abandonment of care for the young, and general weakness. The application of oil is astounding, the flock grows quiet, the sheep return to eating.

So in our lives the anointing of the Holy Spirit is the moment-by-moment appropriation of God’s power over the pests that irritate and nag us in life. Only the oil of the Holy Spirit can free us from frustrations and irritations. Only the Holy Spirit can quiet us and bring us to contentment.

At salvation we received all of the Holy Spirit. But to possess Him and to be controlled by Him are two vastly different conditions. Shepherds can carry gallons of nasal fly oil but until it is applied there is no relief.
It’s the application that matters.

To be safe from all wounds, pests, diseases, and dangers they learned to trustingly pass under the rod of their shepherd as he moves the rod and his hands over their fur to check and clean and protect them. Sounds like the prayers of David in Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. NKJV

To us that means awareness of the presence of God’s Spirit, daily application of His power, His Word, His control.
To us that means asking for the Holy Spirit’s control, filling, and leading – and then living under His guidance!

It means bowing my infected head for His daily inspection and cleansing. It means submitting my rebellious will for a periodic dip to purge the sin. It means being filled by God’s Spirit moment by moment.

Only God’s Spirit can calm the irritations of life.
Only God’s Spirit can bring peace to my world.
Only God’s Spirit can restore me to regular feeding and growth.
Not just in summertime do we need anointing, we need Him DAILY!

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside the still waters.

As with most animals sheep are made of 70% water.
Water is vital for them to live.
There are only 3 ways for them to get healthy and life giving water: deep wells, running streams, and dew-laden grasses.
In many early weeks of the spring and summer a sheep never needs any source of water but the dews. This is of course only when the sheep are out early. To get the water they need they must be up early while the grey mists of dawn are rising. Feeding on the dew-laden grasses they find clear, pure, and clean water that meet every need for water they ever have.

Is there a lesson again for us? Do we meet the Lord in the quiet opening of our days? Do we get the refreshment we need to carry us onward through the hot, dry activities of life’s deserts? That is what the morning manna collection pictured. That is what the sheep experienced. That is what all the biographies of the great saints of the past have recorded as being a common denominator in their lives.

Is that hat we have?

He restores my soul

One of the most dreadful situations for a sheep is to be “cast”. This refers to being on its back, feet flailing, and unable to regain its balance to stand.

In this condition that happenes when sheep seek a spot that is too comfortable (like a depression in the pasture to sink down into and lay in), or when they over eat, or when they are too shaggy and untrimmed, or when they stumble and roll down an embankment. Once in a cast position, the clock begins to tick. They lose circulation in their legs, then feeling goes, then the rumination gasses start them swelling and if left unchecked they actually die from the suffocating pressures of their own upside down digestive world. They are cast when their world turns upside down!

What did David say? Why art thou cast down oh my soul? Psalm 42:5-11. That is a sheep term and only the hand of the Shepherd can set us and keep us back on course!

He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

Sheep are defenseless animals; they can’t bite like dogs, scratch like cats, kick like horses or even snap like turtles. They are defenseless; their list of enemies is great.

  • ?  Cougars track sheep for days, returning to kill sheep each night. Sometimes they drag a sheep for miles to their lair.
  • ?  Coyotes go to the weak on the fringe of the flock, grab an ewe or lamb by the throat and run away at speeds in excess of 30 mph.
  • ?  Eagles can steal and fly away with a small lamb, crows can pull out their eyes, flies can cause blindness and even death.
  • ?  Poisonous weeds abound, steep edges dropping to deadly depth always loom.

Sheep are defenseless but their shepherd defends them. Our enemies surround us, they hover around us, and they slither beneath us. John the Apostle identifies our enemies as:

  • ?  The World system that governs the earth in greed, controlled by legions of demons, controlled by Satan. The world surrounds us always reminding us that we never quite have enough.
  • ?  The Flesh is our insatiable appetite inherited at birth and never completely gone until death.
  • ?  The Devil is that most powerful created angel that opposes all that is of God, and goes to any length to steal our affections and devotion away from God!

The Lord’s Table is set for us to remember the only One who as our Shepherd defends, protects, and feeds us – even though surrounded by enemies!

You anoint my head with oil;

If sheep are not checked they develop infections. The most common is what we see in the Old Testament called blemished (as in an “unblemished” lamb). The blemishes

were what we today call the scab, a communicable infectious skin disorder that if left unchecked can totally disable sheep. The face of the sheep is where the scab starts. It is transmitted as sheep rub heads, which they do often. The other most common ailment is also of the head and it is called the nose fly. In application, the world of sin usually attacks our heads (minds) first. We must have our noses oiled by the repellent of God’s Word and our heads washed with the healing cleansing of the Holy Spirit.

If they are not guided they drink fouled water and develop liver flukes that slowly kill them.
If they are not oiled in the summer with special oils they are distracted to sickness and even death by the nasal flies that lay eggs in the soft tissue of their noses. The eggs hatch into larvae which burrow up into their sinuses and cause they run hit their head on rocks, rub their noses until their raw, or even get infected to the point of blindness and even death.

Ancient and modern shepherds have made oil with sulfur and spices that repels the flies, prevents the eggs from being laid, and calms the sheep in the summer “fly season”. Without protection the sheep are irritable, fearful, and restless. They run from the flies, tossing their heads for hours, rubbing their heads, hiding in bushes and just acting panicked. This leads to lack of nourishment, abandonment of care for the young, and general weakness. The application of oil is astounding, the flock grows quiet, the sheep return to eating.

So in our lives the anointing of the Holy Spirit is the moment-by-moment appropriation of God’s power over the pests that irritate and nag us in life. Only the oil of the Holy Spirit can free us from frustrations and irritations. Only the Holy Spirit can quiet us and bring us to contentment.

At salvation we received all of the Holy Spirit. But to possess Him and to be controlled by Him are two vastly different conditions. Shepherds can carry gallons of nasal fly oil but until it is applied there is no relief.
It’s the application that matters.

To be safe from all wounds, pests, diseases, and dangers they learned to trustingly pass under the rod of their shepherd as he moves the rod and his hands over their fur to check and clean and protect them. Sounds like the prayers of David in Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. NKJV

To us that means awareness of the presence of God’s Spirit, daily application of His power, His Word, His control.
To us that means asking for the Holy Spirit’s control, filling, and leading – and then living under His guidance!

It means bowing my infected head for His daily inspection and cleansing. It means submitting my rebellious will for a periodic dip to purge the sin. It means being filled by God’s Spirit moment by moment.

Only God’s Spirit can calm the irritations of life.
Only God’s Spirit can bring peace to my world.
Only God’s Spirit can restore me to regular feeding and growth.
Not just in summertime do we need anointing, we need Him DAILY!

MY CUP OVERFLOWS

As the shepherd anoints his sheep, pouring oil over their heads, rubbing their wounds, anointing their noses, something wonderful takes place.
The animal’s entire personality changes.
Irritability leaves.

Frustration ceases. Hostility departs. Focus returns.
Sheep feed and grow.

The nose flies of the Christian life are catalogued in Galatians 5:19-21. They are called the works of the flesh. There are 15 named:

ADULTERY

FORNICATION UNCLEANNESS

LEWDNESS IDOLATRY

OUTBURSTS OF WRATH SELFISH AMBITIONS

DISSENSIONS HERESIES

ENVY MURDERS

SORCERY HATRED

DRUNKENNESS REVELRIES

Most Christians usually shun seven of these nose flies. We are proud we don’t do them. But eight reflect the irritations of the flesh of which most of us are guilty.

These pests are constantly buzzing around us and within us, casing unceasing harassment. We can swat at them, run from them, and try to hide from them. We can pretend they aren’t there – but we can’t eliminate them.
They create guilt and anxiety within and hostility without.
The only solution is found in Another.
My irritable personality must be exchanged for Another’s.
The fruit of the Spirit is actually a list of Christ’s personality traits when the Holy Spirit runs our lives. There are 9 evidences called the fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22- 23:
LOVE

JOY
PEACE

LONGSUFFERING KINDNESS

GOODNESS FAITHFULNESS

GENTLENESS SELF-CONTROL

The Holy Spirit pours His oil of LOVE over the nose fly of STRIFE, and brings PEACE. The Holy Spirit pours His oil of JOY over the nose fly of ENVY, and brings PEACE. The Holy Spirit pours His oil of PEACE over the nose fly of DISPUTES, and brings PEACE.

The Holy Spirit replaces my personality with Christ’s.
The results are dramatic, life changing and overflowing.
There is always enough anointing left over for others, overflowing cup is meant to be shared.
The anointed head is for me.
The overflowing cup is for others.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Finally, is Jesus yours?

Jesus is all we need. He is our Good Shepherd256, so we need no longer fear the outcome of our battle with evil. Christ has conquered! We have conquered! And we will conquer!

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