Sunday, July 1, 2018

 Portraits of Christ

E. J. Davis

I like finding these portraits of our Lord in the scriptures. This one is found in I Peter 2:25 – Christ, The Shepherd and Bishop of Our Souls. Let us go back in this chapter and make our way down to this 25th verse. Several exhortations are given for believers to live a life that gives honor and glory to God.

We will start with verse 17. “Honor all men,” this word “Honor” in the Greek has the meaning of “value.” Value all men is not easy for our flesh, but we possess the Life of Christ and He died for all mankind. “Love the brotherhood,” they are family, our brothers and sisters in Christ. We may not agree doctrinally on some matters, but they are still family and we love all the family of God. “Fear God,” the Greek word used here means “to be in awe, reverence.” We not only know Him as our creator, but as our redeemer and that is awesome. “Honor the king,” Give due respect for God set them in that very place and that makes them accountable to rightly exercise the authority committed to them.

V. 18 – Servants are under masters, as are employees, students and underlings in the military, saints should be subject, not only to the good and gentle, but to those that are harsh. Vs. 19-21 – It is thankworthy even when we endure suffering wrongfully, if we serve them as service unto God. Christ suffered in silence, may we follow His example and manifest the grace of God in all circumstances, for this is well-pleasing to God. Jesus left everything in the Father’s hands, and so should we. God’s grace will enable us to triumph. Jesus said, “Bless are ye, when men revile and persecute you, saying evil against you falsely for my sake.” We shall be vindicated in the Lord’s own time and rewarded. I Cor. 4:5, “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: then shall every man have praise of God.”

V. 22 – God’s Lamb was pure and spotless in every way, thus the perfect sacrifice for sinners. I Jn. 3:5, “He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.” V. 23. - He meekly and patiently endured all shame and indignities that wicked men did unto Him. The Father vindicated Him when He raised Him from the dead. V. 24 – He who had no sin, took upon Himself all our sins and God’s judgment of sin fell on Him. Ps. 42:7, – “all thy waves and thy billows (of judgment) are gone over me.” By His stripes we were healed, body soul and spirit.

We love Him, Who first loved us and we desire that our lives bring glory to Him. The flesh always puts self first, but the life of Christ within says, Yes in every little detail to God’s will. V. 25 – It is the grace of God that we have been brought to know Christ as our Shepherd who cares for us in every way. The portrait or type of Christ as our Shepherd is no precious.

A shepherd or sheep-master was constantly with his flock, day and night, feeding them guarding them with tender care. Jesus words in John chapter 10, “I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep” (V. 11). “I know my sheep, and am known of mine” (V. 14). “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (V. 15). “He putteth forth His sheep, He goeth before them, the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice (V. 4).

I am so glad we can say like David (Ps. 23:1), “The Lord is MY Shepherd; I shall not want.” He is also the Bishop or overseer of my soul, guiding and directing my way through life. We can’t expect any better treatment from this world than our rejected Lord. We need not be surprised when our testimony is rejected by most and accepted by only a few. But we are here to be a light in this darkened world. “This little light of mine, I’m go to let it shine.”

Col. 3:23-24, “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Rev. 22:12, “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me…”. It is far better to have the approval of the Lord than the commendation of the world. May we manifest the characteristics of the life of Christ daily, the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.