Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Triune Shepherd of Old and New Testament

Isaiah 63:11 "Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses. Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them."

Yesterday we looked at how the God of glory led His people throughout the Old Testament.  We focused particularly upon His manifestation as a pillar of cloud and fire, first glimpsed by Abraham through the eye of prophecy, experienced by his descendants coming out of Egypt and repeated through the prophetic memory of men like Nehemiah and Isaiah.  One of the descriptions of God's leadership of His people is that of a Shepherd.  Today I want us to explore this idea of the Lord as the Shepherd of Old and New Testament Revelation.

Below I'm going to list a series of texts which flow from His days of leading them as a pillar of cloud and fire as the Shepherd.  As the Shepherd, we will discover how the Old Testament develops this incredible thought as foundational for understanding Jesus Christ the Shepherd of His flock - the Church, as well as the Triune God working His way through Old and New Testament revelation.

1. Psalm 23 "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3He restores my soul;He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;  You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 6Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."
2. Psalm 80:1 Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who are enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth!

3. Isaiah 40:11-12 "Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes. 12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,  And marked off the heavens by the span, And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, And weighed the mountains in a balance
and the hills in a pair of scales?"

4. Isaiah 63:11 "Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses. Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them."

5. John 10:11-15 I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12“He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 14“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

6. John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

7. 1 Peter 2:25 "For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. "

8. 1 Peter 5:4  "And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory."

One Shepherding Divine nature expressed and shared by Three Divine persons
Now when you look at this string of texts, you begin to understand the connection between the Shepherd of the Old Testament and the Shepherd of the New.  What we are seeing is the Father and Son sharing in the same shepherding Divine nature.  Deity unrevealed is God the Father, whereas Deity revealed to us in history is God the Son and Deity revealed in us is the Holy Spirit.  Let the reader be reminded that this is not three Deities, but One undivided Deity of God shared equally by Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

God the Father, unseen, led His people out of Egypt.
God the Father led his people out of Egypt like a Father does a son (Deuteronomy 32:6).  Whenever we see the pillar of cloud and fire, what we are seeing is an Old Testament manifestation of invisible Deity.  That appearance of Deity is an Old Testament appearance of God the Son.  We also see this same Eternal Deity manifested amidst the people in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament church, identified as the Third Person of the Trinity - the Holy Spirit. 

God the Son came as the Good Shepherd
God the Son make visible invisible Deity. (John 14:9)  In history, among His people, the Shepherd made visible in history shares in the same Divine nature as the Father in Heaven, who remained invisible.  This same Son, spoken of in the Old Testament (Proverbs 30:4-5) as being Deity revealed in various manifestations throughout Old Testament history would be Deity revealed in human flesh in the New Testament Gospels. (Hebrews 1:1-3)

God The Holy Spirit was sent to guide the church
This Shepherd, as Deity revealed in human flesh, ascended into heaven after His resurrection to be seated in co-equal authority with the Father.   The Holy Spirit, sent to the church in Acts 2, communicates in every Christian the presence and power of the Good Shepherd in Heaven.  Through the sacred text of scripture Jesus Christ excercises His reign over His flock.  By the Holy Spirit, who shares in one, undivided Divine nature with the Father and Son, we as Christians have the glory of God revealed in us. (John 14:17,23; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) 

For Christians, God the Good Shepherd is the Father above us, the Son among and for us and the Spirit in and through us
The Holy Spirit in us is the One who authored the Old and New Testaments.  I appeal to the scriptures to hear His voice.  As the Old Testament reveals, it is God the Father, Deity unseen, who gave his people His Good Spirit to be Deity revealed among them. (Psalm 143:10)  The New Testament tells us that the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father in the name of the Son, is Divine Deity revealed in Christians. 

Thus God the Shepherd is above us as our Heavenly Father, is with us and for us as our Mediator in Heaven - the Lord Jesus Christ,  God the Son. (Luke 11:13; 1 John 2:1-2)  Then this same undivided Divine God is Shepherding and leading every Christian internally as the indwelling Person of Holy Spirit.  (Galatians 5:16)

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