A good and gracious shepherd, and it doesn’t matter what kind of sheep. The Shepherd has come to tend his flock… and so it does matter what kind of flock! Skinny, injured, weak sheep – even ones that have strayed – YES! But the fat ones, the strong ones, they will just not do. He’ll leave the 99 and search for the one, but all the hearty, righteous sheep… forget it, they will eat justice. I guess there could be wolves in sheep’s clothing or at least mean, nasty, down and dirty sheep – sheep that sin, sheep full of doubt and lies, those are the sheep that have wondering, lustful eyes – the ones that aren’t so sure about this whole thing at all.
Is this Jesus a good Shepherd? Am I one of his sheep? Have I done enough? Have I tried hard enough? Can he really shepherd me? Is his love enough for my sin? And not just me – what about this flock?? Are we weak sheep? Strong sheep? Fat and strong sheep he will destroy. He only comes for the lowly and weak. Every sheep, even every little lamb, comes with doubt. The devil only encourages it, cultivates it. You are the ones that think this whole thing could just be a bit over rated!
Sheep in the world. To say it is a bit easier than to live it, to do it, but you really have not understood. You have not been in the world and not of it. You have engaged in a tug of war with the world, with your surroundings, with doubt and fear, because the world is real and you live in it. Your enemies (the devil, the world, the sinful nature) pull you along. They pull at your desires and squeeze your emotions. They promise you what you want.
Who is it that keeps at arms length the thick darkness and the day of clouds? The evil temptation and the evil desires and pleasures of your heart? WHO?? Not you – no not one of you! You had thought maybe you were a strong sheep! There is no temptation that has seized you that is not common to man.
The Good Shepherd did not come to save the righteous – but to lay down his life for you. A person who is well has no need of a physician, but you, God perfects his glory in your weakness. Everything out there is real. Repeat: EVERYTHING OUT THERE IS REAL. Satan would use it all to water your doubt and despair – just waiting for the crop to come to harvest. You are stuck in the world with all its dark clouds, but Jesus seeks you out so that you are not “of the world” any longer. Sorry to break it to you, but there isn’t a strong or fat sheep, not even a chubby lamb, reading this post. Jesus is your shepherd (the shepherd of the weak and sinful) and on this day of clouds and the thick darkness of sin and trouble, Jesus has come in search of you.
So, to find you, he became a scronny and weak little lamb. He laid down his life to pay the ransom for you. The whole weight of the darkness and even every sin slaughtered him. Like the lambs, so many lambs sacrificed before, Jesus was sacrificed. But UNLIKE any other time before, this time God became part of his creation and not just a something of creation. God became a man – the Man: the Son of Mary. So Mary had a little Lamb and he had come to the world, entered in it, to die the cross of sacrifice and shame in order that he would be the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world – your sin. IN order to be the Good Shepherd that crushes the wolf’s head and lays down his life for the flock – for the ONE, even for you.
He has sought you, brought you to the inn of his church, bound up your wounds, washed your sins away, strengthened your weaknesses and beckons you lie down in green pastures and beside still waters.
Even as the storms rage and spite out there, Jesus leads you, calls you by name, and calls you his own. You know him: A good and gracious Shepherd… and it doesn’t matter who you are! Jesus has come as your Good Shepherd. The Lamb who died and now lives again has done a good work this day. Your soul is restored and even now he blesses you, forgives your sins, and goes forth this day into the world with you. The Good Shepherd isn’t a hired hand, and even now you know him for he has rescued you.