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The Good Shepherd - "The catacombs are full of Christ"

The Good Shepherd - "The catacombs are full of Christ"

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.’  Heb 13:20-21

In Christianity the Lord Jesus Christ is all and in all. “

“THE catacombs are full of Christ. It was to Him that the Christians of the age of persecution ever turned: it was on Him they rested – in gladness and in sorrow; in sickness and in health; in the days of danger – and these were sadly numerous in the first two centuries and a half – and in the hour of death. It was from His words they drew their strength. In the consciousness of His ever-presence in their midst, they gladly suffered for His sake. With His name on their lips they died fearlessly, joyfully passing into the Valley of the veiled Shadow. On the tablet of marble or plaster which closed up the narrow shelf in the catacomb corridor where their poor remains were reverently, lovingly laid, the dear name of Jesus was often painted or carved.”

“The catacombs are full of Christ,” the Dean of Gloucester repeats in the clause succeeding that above quoted from his book. He then goes on to tell that in those “first days” “the Good Shepherdwas “the favourite symbol of the Christian life and faith.” And he adds: “A great and eloquent writer (Dean Stanley) does not hesitate to speak of what he terms the popular religion of the first century as the religion of ‘the Good Shepherd.’ He says they looked on that figure, and it conveyed to them all they wanted. And then he adds sorrowfully that ‘as ages passed on, the image of the Good Shepherd faded away from the mind of the Christian world, and other emblems took the place of the once dearly loved figure.’” Yes, in those bright days the thought of the personal and living Christ “conveyed to them all they wanted.

The Church is the flock, and Ministers are to be “ensamples to the flock” – the Lord’s own provision of shepherds until the Chief Shepherd shall appear. He is the Chief Shepherd with reference to the under-shepherds. He is the Good Shepherd, because He cares for the sheep, and gave His life for them. And as brought up again from the dead He is the Great Shepherd. The significance of the imagery of the Lord’s words in (John 10) was familiar to the Hebrew Christians of Palestine, but we are apt to miss it. Within the fold, sheep have no need of the shepherd’s care. But when he leads them out to pasture they look to him for guidance, and they run to him for safety whenever danger threatens. What intensity of meaning this must have had for those early saints in days of persecution! ”  Sir Robert Anderson –Types in Hebrews – Chapter 14 – CHRISTIANITY IS CHRIST

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:7-9

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15

And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. John 10:16

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:25-30