He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
I’m fortunate enough to have shares in a small bit of land in the countryside. Most of the land is simply left as grass, although a few years ago we planted a new wood of around 900 trees which I’m watching slowly grow. On one small corner of the land, however, we hire a plot out to someone we know affectionately as “the sheep lady.” Would you believe it, she keeps a group of sheep on this bit of land. It’s well fenced, but sometimes people who shouldn’t be in the field walk their dogs across it. Earlier this year, one of the sheep was attacked and killed by a dog. These days, in England at least, we don’t really have shepherds anymore. If we did, perhaps the sheep in our field might have been safer, as the shepherd would surely have protected them from the dog.
In our current Mark Marathon passage, Jesus encounters a crowd “like sheep without a shepherd.” Being the kind of guy he is, he stops to teach them, even though he is tired. He even whips them up a bit of a feast. He recognizes that the crowd did looking after, and he provides food for them – spiritual food in the form of teaching, but also bread and fish to sustain them.
There are lots of instances in the Bible of Jesus or God being described as shepherds. Today’s verse is just one, and seems to perfectly describe Jesus. We’re told that he tends his flock like a shepherd. He wouldn’t let any dogs, literal or metaphorical, threaten the well being of those in his care. He gathers those that need special help in his arms and holds them close. He will gently lead others along the right path.
Sometimes we all have tough, difficult days. It’s nice to know that God is watching over his flock, caring for us all like a good and kind shepherd. Just thinking that I feel the stresses of a busy day lifted off my shoulders. I pray that you too will draw comfort from the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, and know that he cares for you.