Every year, once the college basketball season begins, I begin looking down the road to March. It is awesome! I know what is coming. A jam-packed three weeks with as much basketball as any fan can digest. Even though it is only December and the young season still has a lot of games to be played, I find myself anxiously anticipating the great 64 (now 68) team tournament that we all know as March Madness.
Anticipation can be a thrilling feeling. It is the act of expectation or hope filled with excitement. It is sensing that something great is coming, and then being on the lookout for it.
In Isaiah 40:9-11, we read about Isaiah being in a state of anticipation. Isaiah is looking forward to the day when our Savior will be to us a King and Shepherd. He will rule over us in a most glorious way, and he will lead us in a most tender way.
The familiar Psalm 23 speaks of God shepherding us: “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1-3).”
Then, in John 10, Jesus speaks of himself as the good shepherd “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me (John10:14). And then Peter calls Jesus the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). Is Jesus your Shepherd?
Shepherd is a great term for our Lord Jesus, and Sheep is a great term for us, his people. We are like sheep. We need help and leading. Jesus is the one to lead us. This is what Isaiah is anticipating. He is looking forward to the day when God will be our God and we will be His people. He will be our Shepherd leading us, his sheep. It is best this way. We should not want to be in charge. We will end up lost and going the wrong way. But, with Christ as our Shepherd, we can trust His leading. As Isaiah 40:11 says “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”
This Christmas season, as you anticipate the celebration of the birth of our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ, I urge you to rest fully in the arms of Jesus, your shepherd. He cares for us, and He can lead us well. Do not be caught trusting in yourself and following your own lead, or worse, following nothing. Instead, let’s all commit this Christmas to following the one who we know can lead us: our Good Shepherd, Jesus.
With all Sincerity,