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The Shepherd And Bishop
Jesus Christ is the Shepherd of His people. It is to His voice that we hearken.
"10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." (John 10:14-16 KJV)
When the Messiah was Sacrificed, His sheep were left without a visible Shepherd, but His Word has never left.
"16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." (Matthew 26:31 KJV)
"For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls"
Christ is the Shepherd of His sheep. Notice His warning to those who would teach His Word, that He sent them out as sheep among wolves, not shepherds among wolves.
"10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Matthew 10:16 KJV)
Christ warned that no one is to stand in place of Christ as the Shepherd of His people - all are His sheep.
"23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 23:10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted." (Matthew 23:8-12 KJV)
Notice that even after Christ has "gone" into heaven, He is called our "Shepherd and Bishop" - a Christ-only office that has been blasphemously claimed by the bishop of Rome (and many, many others, Roman Catholic and Protestant - and even some in the true Church of God) who claim to be in place of Christ ("vicar" is a Latin word that means to change or to substitute) on earth.
"2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." (1 Peter 2:25 KJV)
What then of preachers and teachers of His Word? What are they? Sheep, with more experience, who are given to pass on their knowledge and understanding to new and younger sheep, just as it was passed on to them by "sheep" before them, "Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock." And only to Christ: "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."
"5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 5:3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
Fact Finder: What is it that Christ alone did that makes Him the only Shepherd of His people?