I was sitting at work yesterday, innocent as you please, and all of a sudden a wave of tears washed over me.
I was thinking about my people: the people God has entrusted to me. The people that, somehow, God has seen fit to allow me to pour my life into. They are my sheep.
I'm not the only one that can claim them, but I can claim them nonetheless. They are mine.
And I love my sheep.
When they're hurting, I can feel their pain. When they are happy, I'm on Cloud Nine. Seeing them get breakthrough is more fulfilling than getting breakthrough myself has ever been.
These are my people.
I love them and would do nearly anything for them.
I pray for them. I weep for them. I rejoice over them. I listen to them, encourage them, sow into them, and build them up at every opportunity.
I'm not trying to be anything special by doing those things. It's just that they are mine, and God has seen fit to allow me to get life-on-life with these people. There's no higher privilege than pouring my life into them.
Day after day, month after month, year after year.
There have been times when I have been on my face before God interceding for them, and have felt such overwhelming love that I literally felt my heart would stop if Papa had not sustained my life.
And then it occurred to me: Jesus feels that way about you and me.
Except when Jesus lay on His face praying nearly 2,000 years ago, His blood vessels bursting with the agony of spirit He felt, Papa did not rescue Him.
When He hung on the cross, gasping for breath–every pain an intercession, every breath an agony–Papa did not sustain Him.
But Jesus refused to give in. He refused to let go. His sheep were always on His mind, and He loved them even to His own death. In His own words, He described it this way:
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
What love. What a heart. What a Shepherd.
And you and I are His sheep.
Jesus loved you and me to the death. His love for us drove Him. His protective heart compelled Him. He would not be shaken. He set His face like flint and refused to be moved from His course (Isaiah 50:7).
He poured out His life as a ransom for many. He gave His life so WE could have life.
He is still giving that life today, because the grave could not hold Him. He was pure and innocent, the Spotless Lamb of God. He had done nothing deserving of death, so after three days He rose again.
And now He's right back at it. Shepherding, that is. He continues to shepherd you and me.
He has never stopped, and never will. He said in John 10:27-28,
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”
YOU are one of His sheep. You are safe in His hand today. He is your Good Shepherd. He already poured out His life for you, only to receive His life back. Now He wants to get life-on-life with you.
Will you let Him?