Friday, February 6, 2009

The Good Shepherd

At home group last night we read this passage from Matthew 9

And Jesus went through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every kind of disease and every kind of affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like a sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few, therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out his laborers into his harvest."

We had a great conversation about what Jesus was actually doing and then what that means for us. One of my friends, mentioned reading Ezekiel 34 to understand a bit more about sheep and shepherds and what Christ may have been saying here...

I read it this morning and it just confirmed our conversation even more. Ezekiel (the prophet)'s critique was about the shepherds caring about themselves and building up themselves and not looking out for the sheep... In many ways 'the church' or 'christians' are and have been guilty of doing this... its safer for us not to see people, needs, hurts, problems, and to consider that all of us have a story. I'm thankful to be a part of a community that is beginning to recognize that we do this and pray to the Lord of the harvest for a change of heart.

At the same time, we are also like the sheep, lost and wandering, not following the Good Shepherd who seeks us out and carries us through the wilderness... I'm thankful that Jesus doesn't forget to look like I do and that he has and has had compassion on me in so many ways.

1 comment:

traci said...

Another interesting bit of info about the "good shepherd"... I didn't write it in the original post because it was already getting too long...

When I was in Israel we saw several statues of Jesus carrying sheep on his back. Brian (our guide) pointed out to us that the early Christians would have used this symbol more commonly to represent Jesus than they would have used the cross (our typical symbol for Christianity).

Remember, the cross was a torturing devise and not something people wanted dangling from their necks... but, the good shepherd symbolized someone who was able AND DID! carry the burdens of the world and was willing to do that for us. I love that picture!