Daily Thought for: 14th November
SHEPHERD AND BISHOP
1 Peter 2. 24-25
We have already thought over the last few days of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, and the Chief Shepherd, and now here the same term is used but without an adjective. He is simply the Shepherd. He bore the punishment for our sins on the tree, and bore up under the stroke of the wrath of God against sin and wickedness. By the efficacy of this stroke we are healed once and for all. The Shepherd has given His life for the sheep.
He suffered for us because we were as sheep going astray. We were lost, torn, bleeding, confused, lonely and helpless - vulnerable to the vicious attacks of men and Satan. But all that has now gloriously changed. We have been turned right round and are back into the safety of the Shepherds care, where all that we need, or even desire, is provided and we have nothing to fear. We rest in Him.
The Lord is also here described as the Bishop, or overseer of our souls; i.e., of our inner life. He keeps watch over us lest any danger should befall us, lest any sickness or disease should trouble us. He daily inspects and scrupulously maintains His flock and, as such, He is guardian, protector, director and mentor throughout our lives, taking an active and responsible interest in all that we are and do. As Bishop, He is elevated above the flock and gladly takes full responsibility for them. At times, even in circumstances as congenial as these, sheep will stray, but we rejoice to know that even then it is possible to return to the Bishop of souls whose raison detre is the welfare of the sheep.
We can be provided with and enjoy nothing better. Contrast that with what we once had - the change is enormous! We enjoy His superintending care, and, as Shepherd and Bishop, He is interested to include all His sheep and to encourage soundness and health in each. It is good to be aware that His care is effective and touches the lives of all His people no matter where they may be. He is not only in charge but seen to be in charge so that our enemies are frustrated in their attacks. As David so aptly said, The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want, Ps. 23. 1.