The task of the Shepherd

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Jesus has ascended to the right hand of the Father and there He rules also according to His human nature. He now rules together with the Father in equal glory and honor. He is present everywhere. Before He ascended into heaven He promised His disciples: "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28:20). Having ascended into heaven, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit into the world to glorify the work of atonement that He had completed. For this task He also gave us gifts, namely pastors and teachers (Eph. 4:8,11).

As a result of the work of the Holy Spirit Christian congregations were born. They were groups of people who were baptized into Jesus Christ, believed in Him and gathered together to hear the Word of God and to partake of the body and blood of the Lord for the forgiveness of sins. But these groups also needed someone to care for their souls.

The Bible calls those who care for souls by various names: stewards (Luke 12:42, 1 Cor. 4:2, Tit. 1:7), shepherds or pastors, teachers (Eph. 4:11), overseers or bishops (Acts 20:28, Phil. 1:1, 1 Tim. 3:1, Tit. 1:7), elders (Acts 20:17, Tit. 1:5, 1 Pet. 5:1) , servants of the Lord (2 Tim. 2:24), your servants (2 Cor. 4:5), leaders (1 Tess. 5:12, Hebr. 13:17).

They are the gift of Jesus. Their task is to feed the flock and protect it from wolves. They must not, however, rule like lords, but they must follow the example of the Chief Shepherd, Jesus, who sought the lost and was ready to give His life for them. Yet they must not seek to please people, but in everything must be faithful to God and His Word.

The pastor of a congregation must give an account to God as to how he has cared for the souls entrusted to his care. For this reason God exhorts believers: "Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you" (Heb. 13:17). This type of obedience is possible only when a shepherd is a genuine shepherd and teaches God's Word correctly. For Jesus says: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." "And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of the stranger" (John 10:27,5).

The task of the shepherd is an enormous one: To feed souls with the bread of eternal life and to lead them with the Word of God to eternal bliss.

What do you expect from your pastor?

How do you help him to perform the great task that has been given to him?