Advent Day 16 – The Shepherd and His Sheep

lent99Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.  He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:10-11

As the prophets foretold of the coming Messiah so long ago, they did so through images familiar to the people of God. Isaiah, in his prophecy concerning the Christ likened him to a good and faithful shepherd caring for his flock. The sheep whose hope of gaining the kingdom of God are lost through sin yet, the shepherd gathers them into one flock and makes them his own. Their sins will be forgiven and the relationship between God and man will be restored in the fullness of God’s mercy.

As Jesus walked among God’s people, he taught them using this same image of shepherd and sheep. As people continued to wander in sin and doubt, Jesus, the Good Shepherd called out to his flock. He gathered them unto himself, feeding the hungry, healing the sick and lame, restoring eyesight to the blind, raising the dead to life. Not all people who heard Jesus teach or witnessed his miracles believed him to be Messiah and Lord. But those within his flock recognized his voice; when he called, they followed.

Today we still wander through a world filled with sin and doubt. Our intentions and our actions are not always pleasing in God’s sight. Yet we have Christ as our shepherd and guide. As we hear the words of the gospel and follow Jesus’ example of service and love for our neighbor, we hear the voice of our Good Shepherd, the one who has given his life for the sheep. Through him comes light in the lives of people walking in the darkness of sin. Through him comes God’s mercy and grace. Through Christ Jesus, our Good Shepherd, God gathers His people into one flock and leads us into the green pastures and still waters of the kingdom of heaven.

Come Lord Jesus, our Good Shepherd and gather your people into one. Forgive us our sins and give us the power and will to love our neighbor as you have loved us. Create within us clean hearts that as we await your coming in glory, we might live for you alone. Amen.

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