Announcements, Devotional Thoughts

Jesus, My Shepherd—and Ours

“Jehovah is my Shepherd,” David says in Psalm 23:1. Not a Shepherd or even the Shepherd, but my Shepherd. I love that. What an encouraging concept to consider at the beginning of a new year. It reminds me that I’m not alone. I have a Shepherd who leads me, feeds me, protects me, restores me, comforts me, and will be sure that I make it home—pursued all the while by His goodness and mercy. Awesome.

The New Testament repeatedly applies the “Jehovah-Shepherd” theme to the Lord Jesus. But there’s a slight change. Jesus is portrayed not only as my Shepherd, but as our Shepherd. When He calls Himself the Good Shepherd in John 10, He’s referring to His relationship to His entire flock, a prediction of the multi-ethnic church (v. 16). The rest of the New Testament builds on this theme, repeatedly calling the church Jesus’ sheep or flock (John 21:16-17 and Acts 20:28), acknowledging the blessing of human under-shepherds (the meaning of our word “pastor,” Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Peter 5:2), and exalting Jesus as the church’s “great Shepherd” and “chief Shepherd” (Hebrews 13:20 and 1 Peter 5:4). This is important. The shape of Christianity in Scripture isn’t God-and-me, but God-and-us—speaking of the local church.

Jesus is portrayed not only as my Shepherd, but as our Shepherd

I was thrilled last year when I learned that The Wilds Christian Camp was highlighting the local church on their new summer album, Let the Church Rejoice. The church is vital to the life of every believer, but it’s often under-represented in our hymns and songs. For a parachurch ministry to honor the church in such a way is beyond healthy. Well done! The album is streaming and also available for purchase. Go get it!

I was privileged to contribute three songs to the album. 

  • “Lord, Build Your Church” is a missional and ambitious meditation on Matthew 16:18 and is another collaboration with my friend Greg Habegger. What a privilege to be part of Jesus’ soul-saving, world-changing work as He deploys His saints across the earth and destroys hell’s feeble, falling gates! (Links: free hymn version | Youtube audio | Wilds SATB arr)
  • “You Made Us One” is a reminder that humanity is united not by politics or culture, but by sharing the image of God, sharing the guilt of sin, and (for Christians) sharing in the family of God. It’s a theme I’m passionate about, and I’m grateful to have worked with Rick Nichols on this meaningful hymn. (Links: free hymn version | Youtube audio | Wilds SATB arr)
  • Finally, I worked with Matt Taylor on the song which motivated this post: “Jesus, Shepherd.” This new hymn pursues the Shepherd motif through the Scriptures, rejoicing in the gift of the church and magnifying the greatness of the church’s Shepherd. (Links: free hymn version | Youtube audio | Wilds SATB arr)

All three choral arrangements are available for purchase online. But we’re finally getting the hymn versions of “Jesus, Shepherd” and “You Made Us One” posted for free download from Church Works Media. Both are great additions to our catalog, and we trust they’ll be a blessing to you and to your church, all for the glory of our Shepherd! Grace!