Dear You

Scott Hoezee

Read: Colossians 1:1-2 To the saints . . . in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. (v. 2) Preachers and teachers often remind us of this when we delve into an epistle, but it bears repeating. What we have in Colossians is a letter, a piece of correspondence. But it was not written to you or me or anyone we have ever met. This has lots of implications. One obvious implication is that you …

Worthy Is the Lamb

Ben Van Arragon

Read: Revelation 7:9-17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd. (v. 17) The central figure in God’s story of salvation is a lamb. In Exodus, when God caused death to pass over Israel, the sign of salvation was the blood of a lamb. In Leviticus, when God’s people sinned unintentionally, the atoning sacrifice was a lamb. In Isaiah, when God promised one who would save humanity from sin, this one was portrayed as an …

Under-shepherds

Ben Van Arragon

Read: 1 Peter 5:1-10 Shepherd the flock of God that is among you. (v. 2) During Jesus’ earthly ministry, he led a group of disciples he called his “little flock” (Luke 12:32). The disciples did indeed behave like sheep: they wandered into trouble, questioned his leadership and in Gethsemane abandoned him completely. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to Peter, the disciple who denied him three times. After asking three times if Peter loved him, Jesus said, “Tend my sheep” (John …

The Good Shepherd

Ben Van Arragon

Read: John 10:11-18 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (v. 11) I used to work for a farmer. I worked long hours—often from sunrise to sunset. The work demanded my time, sweat, and (sometimes) blood. However, at the end of the day I left the work behind and went home. I gave little thought to the cost of breakdowns or bad crops. My boss, on the other hand, was already working …

Voice of the Shepherd

Ben Van Arragon

Read: John 10:1-10 The sheep follow him, for they know his voice. (v. 4) Throughout the Old Testament, God referred to his people’s human leaders as “shepherds.” On some occasions God condemned his people for wandering from their shepherds. On other occasions, God condemned his shepherds for misleading his flock. But God affirmed that each shepherd of Israel was a stand-in for an ultimate Shepherd who would one day lead his people perfectly and form a flock from among all …

The Shepherd’s Delight

Ben Van Arragon

Read: Luke 15:1-7 Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. (v. 6) When my children were younger, we had a pet hamster. This hamster was never content with her habitat, escaping whenever she could. On one occasion, she disappeared for several days. I considered her lost but then discovered her trapped in a bucket in our basement. She was desperately trying to claw her way to freedom. She seemed delighted to be rescued from her …