My favorite childhood ride was on Dad’s shoulders. Even though our family had a car and there was a city bus stop down the street, we walked wherever we could. Even to the neighborhood grocery store. My school was only four blocks away and all of us kids were walkers. I’ll never forget the day I hurt my foot. My father transported me on his shoulders to school. I felt like kindergarten royalty!
I was recently reminded of the many times I sat on my dad’s shoulders. Our son posted a picture on Facebook that made me smile. It was of my husband balancing three grandchildren on his shoulders. Lest you think he’s some kind of superman (which he actually is, by the way), he was supported by water…in a swimming pool! One by one, each had climbed up on the other until all of them were balanced on their grandpa’s shoulders. What a fun picture of love and support! One these kids still talk about!
It kind of represents who he’s been for us through the years. Our supporter. He lays down his life for his family in so many ways. Putting others before himself. Forgoing what he wants in order to serve his kids. He carries a lot on his shoulders for us. Some things he doesn’t even share with us. He just takes care of it. Just like my dad did. And now our sons as fathers do the same. Parents carry a lot on their shoulders. Their family’s well-being rests with them. Protection and Provision.
Shoulders represent authority. In both the Hebrew and Greek, shoulders are defined as the place of burden or that on which burdens are borne. That’s just what our earthly fathers do (or should do) for us. And that’s what our Good Shepherd definitely does on a much grander scale for you and me.
In this life, we talk of people having a lot on their shoulders when they’re overwhelmed. Who helps bear those burdens except our Good Shepherd? In Isaiah, we read the government will be upon the Messiah’s shoulders. In Luke, there’s the parable of the shepherd carrying the lost sheep on his shoulders. What a beautiful picture of Jesus bearing our burdens and carrying us when we can’t walk!
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own 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.17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.
Exodus 28:12, 30
Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the Lord…Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord.
Questions to Consider:
1. Who does Jesus say He is in these verses?
2. Who cares nothing for the sheep?
3. Describe the authority of the Good Shepherd? What does He do for His sheep?
4. How does Aaron’s duties as High Priest reflect the responsibilities of earthly fathers?
5. What stands out to you about shoulders from these scripture references?
Military officers wear a shoulder board on their uniforms to distinguish rank and service. Deriving their authority from the president of the United States, their position deserves respect and honor. Isn’t it interesting this is displayed on their shoulders? Personally, I’m thrilled and thankful that the government of my life rests with Him. It’s on His shoulders, not mine! I depend on His sovereignty because I believe He loves me and and is for me. Don’t go it alone. The Good Shepherd is more than willing to shoulder your load. Why not ride along ?