Yesterday we started looking at Joseph as a “type” of Christ. One thing to remember is that we cannot compare any human “type” with Jesus Christ in totality because humans are sinful and He was sinless. So Joseph as a “type” of Christ needs to be seen in this way. Yesterday we saw he was loved much by his father and compared this with Jesus, as Son loved by His Father in Heaven. Today we continue looking at him as a “type”.
Joseph Was a Shepherd
Ge 37:2 Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers.
His trade was a shepherd. He worked for his father as did his brothers. Theirs was a family enterprise. The job description of a shepherd was to graze (feed) and water the sheep; keep the flock together … prevent them from wandering off and getting lost or into danger; protect them from predators such as lions or thieves; check them regularly for disease, insects and other illnesses or problems; take to them to places for shearing and move them to the market to sell. Some shepherds even milked their sheep to make cheese. It might at first seem as though being a shepherd was easy, but considering the above, it was a fulltime job, day and night. Most of their time was spent in the open. Joseph was such a shepherd … and a “type”.
(a) In Psalm 23 we find God is a Shepherd to His people.
Ps 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
Just as the sheep could graze and do life without worries or concerns, so the Psalmist says that with God as his Shepherd, he shall not be in want. Far too few of God’s people realize this … when you walk with the Lord, seeking holiness and living your life as best as possible for the glory of God … He provides, protects and cares for you. David in this Psalm is explicit … to mention a few things … Restful Sleep v2; Restoration v3; Guidance v3 and Exceptional Protection v4. He says that because the Lord is his Shepherd he is able to go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death (the worst crisis) without fear … he will fear no harm (evil).
(b) When we come to the New Testament, it is not surprising that Jesus claims the title “Good Shepherd”. He has every right to because Jesus is God! He says:
Jn 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
Jesus compares Himself as the Good Shepherd to the hired hand who deserts when the enemy (wolf – devil’s agents) comes. Here you see Jesus’ love for His sheep in that He is ready and prepared [and did] to lay down His life for the sheep. This is the extent that His loves drives His care and protection of those who are His! Nothing will stop Him … not even being slaughtered at Calvary … for His sheep.
(c) But Jesus requires His compassion for the sheep be a shared concern.
Mt 9:35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Why was He compassionate as He viewed the crowds? Because they had spiritual needs! The depth of it is seen in “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” They had religious leaders and teachers in the scribes, Pharisees, teachers of the Law and rabbis … yet they were is a spiritual depression … in a hopeless state … there was no light in the tunnel. They were doomed spiritually even though they had guides and teachers … spiritually dead ones. This is why Jesus was compassionate. He who is God knows the final consequences of being spiritual dead. It is all of Hell and Damnation. It is for this reason we read:
Mt 9:37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
He wants us to pray for workers … pray that God will provide pastor teachers, evangelists, missionaries, youth workers, children workers, people who work with drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes and the list is endless. Do you and am I failing here? Yes there are many false teachers and false prophets adding to and taking away from Scripture, coming up with dreams and prophecies … but you cannot trust anything they say because a little poison pollutes the complete bucket of water!
(d) Of the shepherds that God needs to raise up as we pray, the most important are pastor teachers. Most of the Christian Church underestimate the role of the pastor teacher. Look again at what Paul says under inspiration to the elders of the Church at Ephesus:
Ac 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard!
Why must the pastor teacher look after himself spiritually? Why must they be shepherds of the Church of God? Why must he guard himself? Because of savage wolves, false teachers, preachers and prophets. They are the devils agents to sow division, to separate and scatter, to hurt and harm the flock of God. Joseph was a “type” of Christ.
Today God’s appointed servants follow in the footsteps of Jesus with the focus on souls for the kingdom. The work is urgent and important! O Lord our God, mercifully protect your sheep by protecting your shepherds. In Jesus’ name, amen.