1 April • Saturday of the Fifth Week in Lent
11 “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.
The emphasis that the Lord God himself will seek the lost and bring back the strayed is unmistakable in today’s reading. In the translation above, ‘I’ was used 14 times for this purpose. Three times ‘I myself’ was used. Against the disappointing backdrop of unfaithful and unscrupulous shepherds, the Lord God himself will personally see to it what a good shepherd must and will do for his sheep. As for the abusive shepherds and their sheep, they will be brought to justice.
During Lent, we are reminded again of how the Lord God ultimately fulfilled his promise through our Saviour and Lord Jesus, the good and great Shepherd of God’s sheep. In keeping with God’s promise, the Lord Jesus publicly declared his mission through the words of the prophet Isaiah at the inauguration of his earthly ministry.
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.
He accomplished his mission as the redeeming Shepherd who came to seek and save those who are lost.
Today, we live in a chaotic world full of unscrupulous ‘shepherds’ in what can be described as ‘a day of clouds and thick darkness’ as in Ezekiel’s day. Even so, let us take heart that our Lord Jesus was, is, and continues to be our good and great Shepherd through all history and into eternity. And he calls us to participate in his mission to be good undershepherds.
Thank You for personally securing our salvation through Your Son, our Saviour and Lord Jesus. Even as You save, You also secure and provide for every one of Your sheep. We worship You in deep gratitude. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Read the text again, slowly.
Let the action words that describe what God himself will do deeply minister to you.
Live securely and confidently in the great salvation God himself has secured for you in Christ Jesus, and bear witness to it as God’s sheep.
Rev Dr Jimmy Tan
Trinity Theological College