“The Lord is my shepherd” – fact or figment of our imagination? We go to a funeral home for a visitation and are handed a folder that almost always has the 23rd Psalm printed on it. The words are so familiar we do not read them but look at the information about the person who has died. Do the words of the Psalm express a fact or are they wishful thinking, a figment of our imagination?

In John 10:14 Jesus tells us what we need to know so that the words of the Psalm are in fact true for us, that the Lord is indeed our shepherd: “I am the good shepherd. I lay down my life for the sheep, I know my sheep and they know me”. Jesus laid down His life by being crucified, and thereby took away the sins of the world. We know Jesus then when we believe in Him, trust Him that He has in fact taken away our sins. That faith includes an admission that we are sinners who deserve to be condemned forever and that Jesus has suffered that punishment in our stead.

Because of that faith Jesus acknowledges us to be the children of God. All people are created by God, the all-knowing Creator, and therefore He knows each person. But only believers in Jesus are in that special group whom Jesus recognizes as His sheep. They are His own; He and they acknowledge the special relationship.

There is joy in our hearts for that special relationship with Jesus. Since He rose from the dead He never again will die but lives forever and gives everlasting life to all believers. That truth enables us to share the joy the next time we go to a funeral home for a visitation.

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me . . . I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Elmer Schiefer
Pastor, Family of Christ Lutheran Church