We are delighted that you decided to join us for this week's ToGather.church. (Find out more.) We invite you to use our home worship guide on your own or to share with your friends, family, home group, or house church.
Today we are focusing on Jesus as our good shepherd! Jesus identified himself as God, the shepherd of Psalm 23 and "I AM" of Exodus 3, especially verse 14. As we begin, let's get Jesus' words about himself to settle into our hearts and be thankful that we know this shepherd, as well as David did, maybe even better, because we know the good shepherd as Jesus!
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
Even 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;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
(Psalm 23:1-6 ESV)
Let's sing about the LORD as our good shepherd who restores our souls as Shane and Shane lead us in "Psalm 23 (Surely Goodness, Surely Mercy)":
Opening the Scriptures:
Kim Walker prepares our hearts for Phil's message today about Jesus, our good shepherd, as she leads us in the song, "Protector":
Our Verse of the Day is John 10:11, which is the first verse in this passage where Jesus made bold statements about his identity and mission:
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep (John 10:11-15 ESV).
Imagine the audacity of Jesus to identify himself the LORD, our shepherd, the one David praises in Psalm 23, as well the God of deliverance who identified himself to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3 as "I AM"! This was what our Lord did in John 10:11. Phil leads us into a deeper understanding of what Jesus meant when he said, "I am the good shepherd." First, Phil applies this understanding to tie Jesus' statement to Psalm 23. Then, he emphasizes how many different ways Jesus loves us by laying his life down for us. Finally, he stresses how Jesus wants us to love others and lead others in his style of shepherding. We hope you are blessed by today's message:
There are seven things that Jesus said about himself in the Gospel of John that are generally identified as "I AM" statements. In each, Jesus used a metaphor to claim his identity as the God who self-revealed himself to Moses at the burning bush as "I AM" (Exodus 3:1-14):
- "I am the bread of life" (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51).
- "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12, 9:5).
- "I am the gate" (John 10:7, 9).
- "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11, 14).
- "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25).
- "I am the way and the truth and the life" (John 14:6).
- "I am the true vine" (John 15:1, 5).
Jesus made two additional "I AM" declarations that also shockingly claim he is God, the Deliverer, and Savior of Israel:
- Before Abraham existed, "I AM" (John 8:58).
- When the mob, led by the Temple soldiers, came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, they said they were seeking Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, "I AM" (John 18:4-5). Often the Greek is translated as "I am he," although Bibles with footnotes generally point out that the Greek is "I am." The "I am he" translation drains the statement of its shocking power, power evidenced by the people backing away in fear when the Lord made this statement identifying himself as God.
These statements were quite shocking and would have been blasphemy if they were not true! Jesus' opponents did see them as blasphemy, but his resurrection after his crucifixion and burial showed that Jesus was who he claimed to be (Romans 1:1-4).
Let's rejoice in Jesus, who is God with us, as All Sons & Daughters lead us in a song that praises Jesus for being "God with Us":
Sharing The Supper:
Jesus is our Savior and so much more! Let's declare this truth and be thankful for his sacrifice as we sing, "Hallelujah What a Savior!" and as we prepare our hearts to share in the Lord's Supper!
Doug Peters, of Grace Crossing Church, reminds us that even though we may be taking the Lord's Supper alone, or only with a few others physically, Jesus is with us and we share in Communion, the Holy Eucharist, with God's people all over the world. As we share in this simple meal together, we remember Jesus and thank him for all that he has done and is doing for us, and we remind ourselves that because Jesus is our "good shepherd," we are never alone:
We are never alone because we are God's children and he has given us his Spirit:
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father" (Romans 8:14-15 NLT).
Closing with a Blessing:
How wonderful and how glorious is our Savior's love that has made our lives victorious. As we close this week's ToGather.church, we end with both a song and a blessing of praise to Jesus. He counted us worthy of his sacrifice and presents each of us to the Father, and to the hosts of heaven, as "holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation" (Colossians 1:22). Let's sing with Hillsong Worship, the beautiful song, "Grace to Grace":
Our closing blessing comes from the joyous scene in heaven as Jesus is praised as the Lamb of God. Lisa Ware leads us in this blessing, one we will surely share with each other and the hosts of believers from every age and from around the world:
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:"Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb."
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:"Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
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