Pastor’s Ponderings: God Knows You by Name!

Posted by on Oct 4, 2014 in Pastors Ponderings | 1 comment

Have you ever felt that you’re just a number?  Customer, student, employee, patient, client… but not known as a person? Pastor Jim published the following devotional on Oct. 3, 2014…

 

Greetings Friends:

PLEASE READ: John 10:25-30

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

In our world today it seems that we are identified by “numbers.” Think about it for a moment:

  • When we go to the bank we have account numbers, PIN numbers to access certain accounts, and credit card numbers.
  • The IRS identifies us by our tax number.
  • When we go for medical assistance we are identified by our insurance policy number and/or group number, patient number or Social Security number.
  • When we go to the deli counter at our favorite supermarket it is necessary to pick a ticket which has a number on it and we will be served when our number is called.
  • If anyone has been stopped by a police officer for a traffic violation, the officer is interested in numbers – our license plate number, our automobile registration number, the number of our insurance card, and, regrettably, the number on the radar gun!

Numbers can be so … impersonal. Isn’t it nice when someone remembers your name, when someone calls you by name (NO, I did not say calls you a name!) :+) or when you are known by name rather than by a customer account number? I recall one of the lines from the theme song of the sitcom “Cheers,” “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.” Wow, isn’t that what a community of believers is called to be?

In John 10 we hear Jesus speak words that give us that kind of warm, uplifting and encouraging feeling that we have when someone cares for us, is interested in what is happening in our lives, empathizes and encourages us. Jesus tells us about the very personal and intimate relationship that He wants with us. He says, “I am the good shepherd. As the Father knows me and I know the Father, in the same way I know my sheep and they know me” (John 10:14). To help us further understand this Jesus calls upon the relationship between a shepherd and his sheep. Jesus says, “My sheep know my voice, and I know them. They follow me, and I give them eternal life, so that they will never be lost. No one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father gave them to me, and he is greater than all others. No one can snatch them from his hands, and I am one with the Father” (John 10:27-30 – Contemporary English Version).

ChapelWin- Good Shepherd _DCP_7051One of the most meaningful pictures in Christian art depicts Jesus as a shepherd. Over the centuries artists have pictured Jesus holding a lamb, or carrying a lamb across his shoulders, or watching over His sheep. As our “Good Shepherd” (John 10:11a), Jesus is the One who cares (1 Peter 5:7), the One who saves the lost (Luke 19:10), and rescues us from trouble. Jesus is the One who is intimately and individually concerned about each one of His sheep. He provides His sheep with everything we need. He is the One whose staff and rod defend the sheep (Psalm 23:4b) if any danger should come their way.

Sheep depend on the shepherd. They gladly follow the shepherd because they know he can be trusted because he lives among his sheep, walks with them, feeds them, guides, directs and protects them, AND knows each sheep by name. Jesus uses this imagery of sheep and shepherd to create a magnificent image of someone with an intense love for our total well-being at every turn of life. This is a description of how Jesus feels about each one of us. The world, the culture, thinks of us as a number. Jesus knows you and me by name!

Whatever this world may try to do to us, no matter what happens in life, we are assured that we are in the arms of the Everlasting Shepherd who lovingly supports and strengthens us in our weakest and most painful moments. Like the lamb that is often pictured in Jesus’ arms, we can be at peace and feel safe in the arms of our Loving Shepherd. I am reminded of the words of the Old Testament prophet, “Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for a child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on my hand” ( Isaiah 49:15-16 NLT).

The image of the Good Shepherd is one of love, care, protection, intimacy and closeness. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, BUT we do know that we have a Loving Shepherd who walks with us through the good and bad. We don’t have to offer Him a card with a number because He calls us by name. Because we have a Loving Shepherd, “goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our life and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalms 23:6).

Shalom,

Pastor Jim

 

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One Comment

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  1. Chuck

    And God searches for you like a lost sheep or coin (the coin was part of the woman’s “wedding ring”). Check out Luke chapter 15.

    He not only knows your name, He misses you when you’re gone.

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