April 24, 2017
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”
21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Sometimes the more familiar we are with a particular scripture text the less we understand it. We can know something by heart yet not really know it at all. The Lord’s Prayer falls into this category for many. Even moreso, the twenty-third Psalm also comes to mind. I’m not sure I have ever officiated or been to a funeral where we didn’t recite Psalm 23. In fact, that’s about where I had this text filed: funerals. I guess that “valley of the shadow of death” line does it.
I’m not sure why, but this Psalm has risen to prominence in my life of late. I’m overwhelmed every time I work my way through it. Far from a death Psalm, #23 is a life Psalm. Green pastures, still waters, paths of righteousness, feasting in the presence of enemies, cups of blessing running over, and on the Psalm goes.
“The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1. When we are well shepherded we need not worry about anything because the shepherd provides everything. Jesus draws water from this ancient well of Divine Revelation when he says, “I am the good shepherd.” Think back through John’s Gospel. Jesus sat us down in the vast green pasture where he fed us with fishes and loaves. He took us to the deep waters of Jacob’s Well and introduced us to Living Water. His presence, countenance and words have restored our souls every step of the way.
I would like to press on through the Psalm and explore more of the incredible connections with the Gospel of Jesus; however, the Holy Spirit is prompting me to stop and invite you to do this work instead. You will be inspired. You might consider joining in with the Daily Text private Facebook group’s conversation.
Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, our Good Shepherd. Because he takes care of everything we need not worry about anything. Thank you for this gift of perfect security. Come Holy Spirit and bring this word to life for me. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
- What is your history with Psalm 23? Spend a few minutes meditating on it each day this week.
2. Do you know Jesus as your Good Shepherd? Does this remain a high ideal or is it becoming a reality in your life?
3. What connections are you making between Jesus and the Gospel of John and Psalm 23?
P.S. I wanted to let you all know I will be in Peoria, Illinois, on May 6-7, at the First United Methodist Church leading a Saturday retreat and preaching on Sunday morning. If you are in the area it would be great to see you. We will be gathering around the big idea of Awakening to the Second Half of the Gospel. The invitation came from a group of Daily Text Readers and they were gracious to ask me to extend the invitation to the rest of you!
Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge here. Whenever you sign up, it will begin the following Tuesday.
J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.