Jesus, the Shepherd King
There seems to be two different Jesus’s described in the New Testament. The Good Shepherd leading and caring for His Sheep is the first Jesus we see in the Gospels. The Mighty and Powerful Lord of lords and King of kings is the other Jesus we find in the book of Revelation.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
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On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
I find it hard sometimes wrapping my mind around both of them being the same person.
Jesus calls Himself the friend of sinners. He tells His disciples that He is their friend. Which tells us something about the disciples, doesn’t it.
He says of Himself that He is gentle and humble of heart.
He is described by the Apostle John this way in John 1:29
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Jesus is also described as being compassionate as in Luke 7:13
When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”
In the feeding of the 5 thousand, He is said to have had compassion on the crowd.
But Jesus also talks of Himself as a judge in John 5:22
“Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,”
He comes down hard on the Pharisee’s calling them things like a brood of vipers, white washed tombs, fools, hypocrites, snakes, blind guides and children of hell. That doesn’t sound much like the gentle Jesus we are all taught in Sunday School.
Most often when we think of Jesus, we see Him as the nice guy, the good teacher and friend. But we have to also remember He was the one who threw the money changers out of the Temple, with a whip no less.
We are taught we’re to come to Jesus with our problems and concerns. We pray in the name of Jesus and we look to Him as the one who died for our sins.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
We see pictures of Jesus as the babe of Bethlehem and later with children and sweet little animals. We see Him pictured walking and teaching His Disciples. And we see Him in the garden praying the night before His crucifixion. We see Him on the cross suffering and dying. And we see Him after the resurrection and at His ascension.
Jesus is our friend, our comforter, the one we run to in times of trouble.
We should think of Jesus this way because He is our friend and the one we should turn to when we have needs, worries or concerns.
But then we come to the description of Him in the book of Revelation 1:12-16.
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
That is not the way we have been picturing Him, is it?
My wife and I make it a practice to read through the Bible a chapter and book at a time. And it never seizes to amaze me when we come back to Revelation and that description of Him.
The Jesus we see in most pictures and the Jesus we think about as we read the Gospels is a Jesus we want to talk with, be a friend of, have a meal with, cry on the shoulder of, but this Jesus! Wow, that doesn’t seem like the same guy.
This is the Jesus we fall on our faces before, crying out that we are not worthy to be in His presence. This is the King of kings and Lord of lords. This is an earthly representation of God almighty described in the only way John could find to do it.
This fellow sure doesn’t seem like the guy sitting in the boat teaching a multitude about the Kingdom of Heaven. This majestic description doesn’t seem to jive with the one comforting Mary and Martha before the tomb of their brother Lazarus.
But we have to realize that the Good Shepherd, friend and comforter Jesus, is the same person as the one John sees in the first chapter of Revelation.
We are fashioned in the image of God remember, and we have many faces, many parts to our personalities and so does God. Jesus is a real person, just as we are real persons. There are times that we are kind and compassionate and there are other times when we are angry and might seem cruel to those around us. And so is Jesus.
Yes Jesus is kind and compassionate, and as God is described in Exodus 34:6-7
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
But notice even though He is described as compassionate, loving, slow to anger and forgiving, He is also the God who will not leave the guilty go unpunished. So even in the Old Testament we see a picture of a God who is more than just the loving nice guy, the one we want to sit on the lap of. He is a God who punishes or shall we say disciplines those who are against Him.
People say, “How can we know God?” The answer to that question is to look at Jesus, for as He tells us in John 10:30, “I and the father are one.”
Jesus is kind and loving, compassionate and caring. But He is also the one who judges, who calls them as He sees them. He is the one you cannot hide from. He knows everything about you, knows ever unkind word you have ever spoken, every thought you have ever had. When you are called before Him, the judge in Him will know the truth about you and everything you have ever said, thought or done in your life. He will even know the truth about why you did something or why you didn’t do something.
But, if you have known Him, if you have accepted the free gift of salvation He offered you through His death on the cross, if you have asked Him into your heart, He will forgive all the wrong, evil and sinful things you have done or thought of doing in your life. He as a judge will throw the case against you out of court.
He will pardon you.
But for those who have never accepted Christ, who have rejected Him, they will have no excuses. If they have heard the Gospel message but have rejected it, there is nothing they can say to the judge to escape their sentence. He knows them to well.
Jesus is God, the two are one. When we see Jesus in the New Testament we are seeing God at work here on Earth. And when we read about God in the Old Testament we are also seeing Jesus, the God who loves and the God who judges.
The kind father of your youth would be unrecognizable to you if you saw him berate a co-worker or slapping back a fool who disrespected your mother. But they are the same person.
Jesus is a person who has many sides. But everything He does or says is done or said for a purpose and that purpose is to bring us alongside Him-self. To bring us closer to Him, to help us, teach us, guide us and direct us in the way we should go.
I hope and pray that you have come to know Jesus, and not only as the Good Shepherd, but also as the King of kings and Lord of lords. I pray that you have let Jesus into your life, and that you listen to Him when He is trying to direct you in the way you should go.
I pray that as the Bible says, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom,” that you not only love Jesus, but have a healthy fear of Him as God. And I mean that in the way of fearing to displease Him, a fear of not honoring Him with your whole heart.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd, but He is also the one who will judge the world.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Are you one of His sheep, or are you one of the goats?
Will Jesus the shepherd welcome you into His rest, or will Jesus the judge sentence you an eternity without Him?
The Shepherd and the King who judges are one in the same Jesus. Read of Him, learn of Him and follow Him. For as Peter says of Him in John 6:68
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Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
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