The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23)
What do David’s famous Psalm and The Good Shepherd of Kaphar Nachuwm have to do with each other? And who is this Shepherd anyway?
The answer to that question is found in Matthew 4. The time to leave Nazareth (where Jesus grew up and would “shoot forth” into ministry) had come. Now we witness the starting place and center of Jesus’ ministry for calling out to and gathering His sheep in Kaphar Nachuwm, the Hebrew word for……..Capernaum, which literally means……Village of Comfort. Interestingly enough, the root wood Kaphar also means….mercy. It was here that God chose for Jesus to begin His ministry to our broken world and hearts by healing the sick and comforting the broken and rejected. Here he would drive out the demons that tormented souls with fear and He would bind up the wounded sheep as they wandered around in the darkness of this world, being wounded and destroyed by the evil one. Here, he would fulfill the role of David’s Shepherd that he spoke about in Psalm 23 and
to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.” (Matthew 4)
It is no wonder that Jesus and His ministry fulfill all that was spoken of by the prophets. That in the land of the shadow of death, the Good Shepherd would arise, as the very “rod and staff” that would bring us comfort.
Today, in the midst of your struggle and your pain, your temptation to fear the evil one and his lies, turn to the Good Shepherd that began His ministry of calling and delivering you, His sheep, at Capernaum……..The village of your comfort too! May it be that as you recognize His voice and answer His call here at Capernaum, that you discover exactly what Paul was revealing to you about your Good Shepherd.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)