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The John Newton Project

Hebrews 13:21,22     

 
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight,
through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


No. 2

 
The title, the God of peace, I have already spoken of.  The second thing as the words lie, is the work ascribed to him.  In this view and on this account he is the God of peace, as having brought again from the dead the Lord Jesus Christ.  But it may be proper to transpose the points, and consider in the next place his character:  that great Shepherd of the sheep.  This name is precious to his sheep, and it comprehends his whole office.  Their safety depends on his being their Shepherd, and their consolation on their knowing that he is so.  Let us speak:
 
1. of the sheep
They are a great multitude which no man can number, but their number is determinate and known to their Shepherd.  When they are assembled at his right hand on the great day, not one will be missing.  They are the remnant, which the sovereign wisdom and grace of God purposed from everlasting to save out of the ruin which sin had brought upon mankind.  As such, they were given as a trust, and as a gift by the Father, to the Son.  He accepted them as a charge, and rejoices in them as his portion, in whom he will be admired, in time and eternity.  They are born in sin, and live for a longer or shorter space in vanity and ignorance even as others, but he who has loved them with an everlasting love in due time draws them to himself.  Till that hour comes, he watches over them by his providence, and then he makes himself known as a Shepherd, rules, leads, guides, guards and feeds them, till they arrive in glory.  The proof of their relation to him, lies in their effectual calling, by the power of his Word and Spirit.  And here we must begin if we desire to know whether we are his sheep or not.  Whoever receives the Gospel report, feels the need of a Shepherd, and seeks to him and him alone, is undoubtedly one, for he says, My sheep hear my voice. [1].
 
2. of the Shepherd
Jesus the Son of God, Christ the anointed, is the Shepherd.  Herein we may notice:
  2.1 Condescension
The Lord of angels, undertaking to be the Shepherd of sinners.
  2.2 Love
For his sheep were in a ruined state, and must have perished, unless he had paid the redemption price.  He is the good Shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep.
  2.3 Authority
Anointed, sent and empowered for this purpose, and having done all in their behalf, he has a right to give them eternal life.
 
3. He is the great Shepherd
That great – emphatical – there is none like him, there is no other.
  3.1 He has many under-shepherds, his Ministers, by whom as instruments he works, but whatever is effectually done is done by him.
  3.2 He fully and truly answers to the Shepherd’s character. This title is applied to him very early, Genesis 49. [2]  The ancient patriarchs were mostly shepherds, Jacob in particular.  He calls the Lord his Shepherd – the Shepherd of Israel.  O how happy are his people.  The welfare of the flock, depends upon the ability and care of the Shepherd.  None can shadow forth his qualifications.
    3.2.1 He seeks them out while wandering upon the dark mountains and brings them into his fold.  Not one shall be lost or overlooked.  They shall come unto him.  When they know him, then they shall experience:
    3.2.2 His care
Though his flock is large, and widely dispersed, he has his eye upon them all at once and every moment.  He never slumbers not sleeps, and is as present to each one as if he had but that one.  I am with you in all places.
    3.3.3 His tenderness
O this good Shepherd has an especial regard to the weak and wounded of the flock, Isaiah 40:11. [3]
    3.2.4 His bounty
He provides well for them.  They eyes of all wait upon him, he gives them their food in due season. [4]  He leads them to green pastures, living waters, promises, ordinances, manifestations, so that they are satisfied as with marrow and fatness.
    3.2.5 Power
He shall stand and feed in the majesty of the Lord.  He is able to protect them in the midst of wolves and cruel enemies.  Once when the wolf came, because they were his own sheep he laid down his life for them, but now he dieth no more, but lives to save them to the uttermost.
 
1. O that I could commend him to sinners.  The fold is not full, the Shepherd is waiting – yet there is room.  Why will you die?  Unless Jesus is your Shepherd the wolves of hell will prey upon your souls forever.
2. You that are seeking, take courage, think of his tenderness.
3. Let his people look to him and rejoice in him continually.
 

Endnotes:
 
1. John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
2. Genesis 49:24 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:
3. Isaiah 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
4. [Psalm 145:15 The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.]
 

Source:
Cowper & Newton Museum, ms 714(11), N32

Marylynn Rouse, 03/05/2019


Article printed from johnnewton.org at 02:42 on 24 October 2019