Lent Devotions: Day 30
Read: Isaiah 53
The Shepherd and Sheep
Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a
sheep that before its shearers is silent. (v. 7)
Jesus is portrayed often in scripture as both a sheep and a shepherd. That shouldn’t surprise us, given the agricultural realities of Israel during biblical times, but I got a little confused as a child when my Sunday school teachers taught me Jesus was both the “lamb of God” and the “good shepherd.” I learned that Jesus was gentle and peaceful like a lamb but he was also caring and watchful like a shepherd, and I wondered which was he, sheep or shepherd?
The answer, of course, is “both of the above.” Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Jesus tends to the flock of God. He calls us by name, prays for us, feeds us, and lays down his life for us.
Still, our shepherd is one of the sheep. That also shouldn’t surprise us, since in the Incarnation Jesus became one of us. Jesus is the lamb that is led to the slaughter, the “lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and, as the RCA communion liturgy puts it, “the perfect sacrifice offered once on the cross for the sin of the world.”
The lamb of God is also the good shepherd who presents us as righteous and blameless before the throne of the Father.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help our minds comprehend the magnitude of your life and work.