“…He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterwards; and now he sits in the place of honor by the throne of God.”
—Hebrews 12:2, LB
Psalm 23 is the most-often quoted and well-known portion of the Bible. It comforts, encourages, and instructs. As powerful as the words are, however, the heart of the psalm is the Shepherd. Only He can do for us all that the psalm promises. Psalm 23 is a psalm of intimacy, love, protection, and care. Jesus, our Shepherd, provides all these things for us because He was willing to journey from the security and love of His heavenly home to the rejection and hatred of earth. His journey took Him to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He faced the hardest test of all. There He surrendered His own will and went to the cross to pay the ultimate price to accomplish His Father’s will.
Jesus did this so He could become the Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep. But the wonderful truth is that the grave could not hold Him. He rose from the dead and became the Shepherd who walks with His sheep. Because of what Jesus did for us, Psalm 23 comes alive to each one of us who know Him personally. It is not just an incredibly beautiful piece of literature to be read and memorized, but a personal declaration: “The Lord is my Shepherd.”
When you consider the journey Jesus took from heaven to earth, remember that He came for you, to pay the price for your sin. Have you received His gift of forgiveness? Do you just know the Psalm—or do you know the Shepherd?