Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Promise of His Coming (16)

Do you remember the parable Jesus tells about the lost sheep, and the searching shepherd? You might hear that and think that it's a nice wee story - but actually, it appears that Jesus' parable is one way of describing what Jesus was doing when he came into the world. In fact, you can go further, and discover that it's one of the promises made by God in the Old Testament, hundreds of years before Jesus comes, pointing forward to this good shepherd who is coming into the world:

For thus says the LORD God: 'Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and seek them out... I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the LORD GOD... And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken. (Ezekiel 33:11, 15, 23-24)

The chapter begins with the judgment and condemnation of the false shepherds of Israel - the rulers of the people, the teachers, the elders, who should have been leading the flock, but were instead lining their own pockets and feasting on the lambs. The false shepherds will be punished, and then God gives this promise of himself coming to shepherd his people, to seek out the lost, to bring them to the pasture of Israel from the nations.

The good shepherd will give his life for his sheep, and save them by his blood, so that we can be white as wool. Come, good shepherd.

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