"JESUS, THE LOVING SHEPHERD"
"I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep…and they shall hear My voice" (John 10.14-16)
INTRO.: A song which identifies Jesus as the good shepherd and encourages people to hear His voice is "Jesus, The Loving Shepherd" (#272 in Hymns for Worship Revised and #167 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written and the tune was composed both by William Augustine Ogden (1841-1897). Born in Franklin County, OH, he moved with his family to Indiana at age six and began studying music in local singing schools at age eight. After serving in the Civil War with the 30th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, he studied music with Lowell Mason, Thomas Hastings, E. E. Baily, and B. F. Baker, and became widely known as a music teacher.
Also, Ogden became interested in composing and publishing religious music. His first book, "Silver Song," came out in 1870. Some of his songs which are familiar to us include "He Is Able To Deliver Thee" and "Seeking The Lost." In addition, he provided melodies for songs by others, including "All Things Are Ready (Come To The Feast)" and "Bring Them In." The song "Jesus, The Loving Shepherd" was copyrighted in 1885, but I have not been able to find a source for its original publication. In 1887, Ogden was appointed supervisor of music for the public schools of Toledo, OH, where he remained until his death.
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "Jesus, The Loving Shepherd" appeared in the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1), edited by E. L. Jorgenson, but was omitted from No. 2 published in 1937; the Gospel Advocate’s 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 and 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 both edited by L. O. Sanderson; and the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch. Today it may be found the 1971 Songs of the Church, the
1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat. It is often used as an invitation song.
The song urges us to follow Jesus as our Shepherd that we might be safe in Him.
I. Stanza 1 talks about what Jesus our Shepherd does
"Jesus, the loving Shepherd, Calleth thee now to come
Into the fold of safety, Where there is rest and room;
Come in the strength of manhood, Come in the morn of youth,
Enter the fold of safety, Enter the way of truth."
A. He calls us now to come that we might have rest: Matt. 11.28-30
B. He wants us to come into the fold of safety, which is the church: Acts 2.47, 1 Cor. 12.13
C. And He desires that we come as soon as possible, "in the strength of manhood," and even "in the morn of youth": Eccl. 12.1, 2 Cor. 6.2
II. Stanza 2 talks about what Jesus our Shepherd has already done for us
"Jesus, the loving Shepherd, Gave His dear life for thee;
Tenderly now He’s calling, ‘Wanderer, come to Me.’
Haste! for without is danger. ‘Come,’ cries the Shepherd blest;
Enter the fold of safety, Enter the place of rest."
A. He gave His dear life for us: Rom. 5.8, 1 Cor. 15.1-4
B. Therefore, by His death, He has made it possible for us to come to God: Jn. 3.14-16, 6.44-45, 12.32-34, 14.6
C. And through Him, we can escape from the danger that is in this world through sin: 2 Pet. 1.3-4
III. Stanza 3 talks about what Jesus our Shepherd will do for us when we come to Him
"Lingering is but folly; Wolves are abroad today,
Seeking the sheep who’re straying, Seeking the lambs to slay.
Jesus, the loving Shepherd, Calleth thee now to come;
Enter the fold of safety, Where there is rest and room."
A. He will help to keep us from the wolves that are abroad: Matt. 7.15-20, Acts 20.29-32
B. He will protect us from these who are doing the bidding of Satan, who seeks whom He may devour: 2 Cor. 11.13-15, 1 Pet. 5.8
C. And He will afford us a place of safety from the temptations of this world: 1 Cor. 10.13, Gal. 1.4, Col. 3.1-3
CONCL.: The chorus reminds us that this Shepherd is lovingly and tenderly calling those who are wanderers to come to Him.
"Lovingly, tenderly, calling is He, ‘Wanderer, wanderer, come unto Me;’
Patiently waiting there, standing I see, Jesus, my Shepherd divine."
And since all responsible human beings have sinned, at one time or another we all need to heed that call. There are many figures of speech used in the Bible of Jesus, especially in the book of John, that give us mental pictures of His blessings–the light of the world, the bread of life, the living water. But it is especially good to know that whether sheep in God’s fold or wandering lambs in the world, we have the care and concern of "Jesus, The Loving Shepherd."