Ezekiel 34:12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when some of his sheep have been scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
Today we celebrate Christ as King, although every Sunday we remember his victory over sin, death and the devil – a visible victory in the Resurrection, and promise for us of the forgiveness of sins and the grace to resist temptation. The focus is on Christ, and his rule over and among us. It is not an easy job – sheep are not easy to rule.Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Its one thing to lead those who follow, but what of those who go their own way? Matthew 18:12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?
It is one thing if there is one strays, but suppose they are all going their own way? Would you be responsible for them? Would you bear their iniquity? It is certainly not easy to be crucified, but while one might die for a good man, who would die for a sinner, or take the punishment that another’s sins has earned? Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Jesus has had compassion on us, we were lost and condemned – but we have been called by the gospel, enlightened with his gifts, sanctified and kept in true faith unto life everlasting – not because we deserved it – but because of the love of God in Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
Why did we return? God worked faith in our heart, and by grace we have grasped the promise of the forgiveness of sins – it is not our work, but rather it is the Spirit that has worked in us a new creation. This new creation began in our baptism, it is a gift of God. John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;
In Christ God has done all these things, his has opened our eyes to see, our ears to hear, and we follow because where else could we go to hear the words of everlasting life? We follow because our good shepherd not only provides us with daily bread, but with all we need to sustain both body and soul. This is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our good shepherd.
So for the riches of grace poured out for us, that in thanks and praise we join together to say: Psalm 95:7 He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.