In the writing world, publishers seek a bio written by the author, for the author. As I have ventured to get some work published on the web, I learned about this seemingly small requirement and realized how enormous it would actually be. ‘What is it about myself that the reader would like to know?’ ‘Just who am I anyway?’
I mean, that sounds silly, right? But I realized that I’ve grossly placed my identity in others or in my successes. Let me explain. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a fur-mama. I am a speech-language pathologist. I am a stay-at-home parent. I am a volunteer group leader for the MOPS program.
The list seems legitimately good to share. I guess people want to know these things that make me credible to their wondering mind. But I still felt rather invisible. Without these people or things, what’s left of me?
I look to the Bible and find there’s no shortage of names to describe who Jesus is. “And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6 NLT). “Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25). “Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35). “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6). “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”
What’s more, though, is two descriptions which left me perplexed. The first was first spoken of Jesus by John the Baptist, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). And the next by Jesus Himself, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me,” (John 10:14). As I pondered these two extremities, I kept inquiring, “How could it be that Jesus is both the Sheep and the Shepherd?”.
After some time had passed by, it soon became a realization by way of the Holy Spirit, just what this meant for Jesus’ character. The Lamb of God is, Jesus, the Son of Man. The Good Shepherd is, Jesus, the Son of God.
When Jesus came to earth, He was both fully God and fully man. Why? Because He was the perfect, and only, Person who could fulfill the payment for my sins, your sins, and the sins of all mankind, for all of time. He came as a person to identify with us people. However, He has always been the Son of God who leads and guides His people in Spirit and in truth.
We are promised that anyone who belongs to the Lord is described as sheep. “Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalms 100:3). And when Jesus was sentenced to death on the cross, as Son of Man, he identified with us as such- “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:6-7). And with that, a deeper level of intimate love for my Savior takes place. He truly does know and understand how to identify with me and anything I’ve ever been through. Which is why it is so important that I know and understand why I must identify with Him.
Likewise, since He is fully God He is also named Shepherd. “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” (Psalms 23:1-3). And since we are made image bearers of Jesus Christ while living here on this earth (2 Corinthians 3:18), we have the amazing privilege of shepherding others to Him!
In John 21, we witness Jesus appearing to some of the disciples since He had risen from the dead, and before He had ascended into heaven. We read, “After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? ” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17). And out of this same love for our Savior, we are asked to feed and take care of His sheep. This is done by sharing the word of God (the Bible), which is food for the soul, and by loving God’s people as we love Him (1 John 4:7).
As God is so good to develop who I am in Him, I no longer need to wonder. To Him, I’m both a sheep and a shepherd-amongst many other identifying characteristics. I may feel invisible in a physical sense, but spiritually speaking I am very much seen. And while it’s okay to share my quick blurb of who I am in light of other people or things (Wife, Mommy, Therapist, Leader), what’s more is sharing who I am in light of the Lord. He is mine. And I am His. (Song of Solomon 2:16). Which is the greatest part of what’s left of me.