July 13

Jeremiah 23:3-6

“I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.” vs. 4

For centuries the Jews hung on to the words of prophets like Jeremiah, hoping against hope that one day God would send a good shepherd, a king who would ensure their prosperity and security. When Jesus began his ministry there were some who believed that their prayers had been answered, that he was the promised Righteous Branch of David. Many of his followers, inspired by his own words, began to think of him as the Good Shepherd. We’ve continued to picture Jesus in that way and images of the Good Shepherd are regularly seen in our homes and churches. It’s not that we think of him in political terms any longer–we don’t imagine him leading an army or vanquishing foes. For us he is the Divine Presence, that intimate experience of God’s love that comes near in our hours of greatest need. In those fearful times it is as though we are cowering lambs caught up in the arms of the shepherd and being carried safely home. The Good Shepherd is better than any president or governor–they let folks fall through the cracks. No wandering sheep is ever lost or forsaken in Christ. Indeed, goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives, and we have a place in the house of the Lord forever.

Thought for the Day: When do I need shepherding?

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