He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11
When an ancient king from the east made a trek through a desert landscape, the way was prepared beforehand by his people. The road was inspected, repaired if needed, and all that would harm or obstruct his journey was removed.
Jesus came to prepare the way for His flock to walk the path to His kingdom. The little Shepherd who napped in the manger would be the One who would make crooked paths straight. He would remove each and every barrier of sin and condemnation. He would defeat the foe who would lure people onto the wrong pathway.
Not only was He the little Shepherd but a little Overseer of our souls.
For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. I Peter 2:25
He would be the caretaker of the inside world of those He loves. He would expose sin, the sin that destroys us. He would inspire repentance, the deep apology and heart change that restores life. He would point to each crooked place in the human heart in order to make the paths straight without painful detours. He would cheer on those who limped. He would pick up the lame until they could walk again. He would help the feeble, working within each nuance of their emotional and spiritual limitations. This little Shepherd would shepherd perfectly. No one would be overlooked and not one under His care would have reason to live in shame and dwell in hiding.
Every one of us has a deep desire to be known by one who loves us. Because we were made for this, our soul strains to be under the care of one who sees it all and offers to shape an environment where we can thrive. The perfect Shepherd, the One who daily provides soul care (if I let Him), tends His flock. He’s a Shepherd, not a brute. He is the singer who energizes, not the taskmaster who bellows orders. We are in such good hands.
Jesus, my worship of you, my Shepherd, begins in the manger. Your shepherd’s crook is ever in my view. Amen