Sunday 13th February 2022 – Sunday Service
The use of the image of a shepherd marks a transition in the relationship between God and humanity both in the Old and New Testaments.
During the exile, Isaiah compared God to a shepherd who cared for and protected his flock:
“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.” (Isaiah 40:11)
This chapter in Isaiah marks the beginning of a more gentle, less judgemental relationship between God and the people of Israel. God commits to a new level of intimacy and relationship with his people, journeying with them, and being with them in their troubles (which were pretty significant in exile).
But he also promised to sing a new song. He promised and pointed to the coming Messiah – Jesus!
When Jesus says: “I am the Good Shepherd” (John10:11) Jesus is claiming the identity of the Messiah and Shepherd that Isaiah spoke about.
In the same way as sheep trespass on to the land of others, humans make bad choices and sin! The shepherds of Jesus’ day had a bad reputation for allowing sheep to stray on to the land of others, causing damage. However, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, commits to take the flak for what we do wrong! The Good Shepherd “lays down his life for the sheep”.(John 10:11)