The Bible uses a variety of ways to speak about God. Recently, I was reading in Revelation and came across the following verse:
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’” – Revelation 7:17 (NIV)
Lamb. Shepherd. King. Three titles that describe the Almighty. Each one gives us insight into who God is and how He works.
Jesus is the “lamb”. He came to serve (Mark 10:45). He gives his life up. He is the blood sacrifice. Men and women throughout time and distance have sinned against God, so there was a penalty that had to be paid. Jesus paid it. He was the only perfect sacrifice, and he was willing to serve in this way. The lamb had to die.
Ironically, the lamb is also called a shepherd. Jesus is the shepherd (John 10). He cares for his sheep. There is something profound here about the nature of God that every human being, even the toughest of men and women have a longing for: someone who cares for them. There comes a point in everyone’s life when we need someone to care for us, protect us from the wolves, feed us, lead us to water. This is what a shepherd does. A shepherd cares for the sheep.
In Revelation 7:17 above, it mentions that the “Lamb” is at the “center of the throne.” Who sits on the throne? The king. Jesus is called the King of kings. He is the master over all. He leads his followers in a victory parade and promises their ultimate victory over every enemy. The reward for his servants is promised: an eternal paradise. This is what we would expect from the King of all kings. This is what the best of kings would promise, and this is what the best of kings would do.
Jesus is a lamb, a shepherd, and a king, and we are called to imitate him. What does this mean for us? I think that these three ideas of lamb, shepherd, and king, communicate truths and practical application for everyone who is a follower of Jesus. What I am about to share is part of what makes church so important because the church is God’s chosen instrument to demonstrate these three truths to the world.
First, the church is called to be a lamb. It is called to live sacrificially. The church is called to love on and serve those who are a part of it, and those who are without. How does your church serve your community? Sacrificial love and service is exactly what Jesus modeled for us, and it is what he has called us to do as his followers.
Second, the church is called to be a shepherd. We care for people. We protect them from dangers and feed and nourish people spiritually. It is the church’s job to teach people how to have a relationship with their Heavenly Father, to build and foster that relationship, to teach the Word of God.
Finally, the church is called to be a king. This is the one that most churches miss, and yet I hope to communicate the importance of this. What does a king do? A king recognizes the value of the people. A king “knights” warriors—just like King Arthur and the…that’s right, the Knights of the Round Table. What makes a great king is a great army and great knights. The church is called to empower people to live the abundant life. The church is called to help people walk in victory, to encourage them, and to live in boldness of a great future hope. The devil is the enemy. The church has the victory.
The key to all this is that every church needs to embody all three of these things. We need to be shepherds, lambs, and kings, and all of this under the banner of Jesus Christ. Check out our new college and young adult ministry that seeks to do just this at www.nexthays.com!
So, get plugged in. Get involved with your church. Search the Scriptures to see if what I have shared is true. Let’s do this together so that his kingdom come, his will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Stand firm!