Have you ever noticed that so many of the big names in the Bible were shepherds? Abraham was a shepherd. Moses was a shepherd. David, before he was king, was a shepherd. Before they were leaders of people, they were leaders of sheep. Indeed, David, before he went off to fight Goliath told King Saul that being a shepherd is was prepared him to face this most formidable foe.
Lest we think of shepherds as easy-going, gentle guides for their flock, David reminds us that being a shepherd was no simple feat. The job wasn’t a passive looking-after- the-flock type of gig. It was an active, warding-off-fierce- predators-to-save-the-sheep type of job. It was a job that required fortitude, determination, strength, and courage. Thus, the role of shepherd is an apt metaphor for the ideal spiritual leader of Israel. Even more so, it’s the perfect image of our God.
This Advent we are asking one question: Who is Jesus? As we saw on Sunday, Jesus is our king. Jesus is also our shepherd. Jesus descends from his royal, heavenly throne in order that we spiritually hungry and searching sheep might be fed by His Word. Jesus descends from his heavenly throne so that we wandering sheep might be brought safely back into God’s flock. Jesus descends from his heavenly throne so that we defenseless sheep might not be taken away by sin, death, or the devil.
So who is Jesus? Jesus is our faithful shepherd.