He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
In a little over a week, we will gather in churches or around the tree and peer into a feeding trough to see a King. But he won’t look much like a king. He will look like a baby, an ordinary baby.
The one described in our Bible verse today doesn’t look much like a king either. He’s described as a shepherd. But not a shepherd heroically fighting off wild animals. A shepherd cradling lambs in his arms. A shepherd gently leading ewes and lambs to food, water, and shelter.
It might seem strange to us, but it wasn’t uncommon in many cultures in the Ancient Near East for a king to be compared to a shepherd. No one fits that description better than the one whom the Bible calls the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the one whom the Bible also calls the Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for the sheep.
We rejoice that Jesus came as our mighty King to do battle for us. We rejoice that he rules over all things for the good of his people. But, as we prepare to meet him when he returns, we also rejoice that he is the gentle Shepherd we need.
Jesus cares for us completely. He sees our needs and meets every one of them. He came not only to conquer our enemies but to lead and love us and feed and guide us. When we stray, he reaches out to rescue us. When our souls are hungry for peace and hope, he fills us with his promises.
And when Jesus comes again, he will carry us in his arms to our eternal home. He will “lead us to springs of living water.” He will “wipe away every tear from our eyes.” He will bless us with everything we need for eternity. Let’s prepare to meet him!
Prayer: (Christian Worship: Hymnal – 804)
Who so happy as I am, even now the Shepherd’s lamb? And when my short life is ended, by his angel host attended, he shall fold me to his breast, there within his arms to rest. Amen.