Thursday after Misericordias Domini
Scripture: Ezekiel 34:1-11 (NKJV)
34:1 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”
7 ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 “As I live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”—9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! 10 Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”
11 ‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.”
In St. Mark 6:34, it says, “And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd.” It is a terrible thing to be a sheep without a shepherd. The prophet Ezekiel says that when God’s people were without shepherds, they were scattered and became food for all the beasts of the field. In addition, it is not a good thing to have an evil shepherd. Woe to those shepherds who do not feed the flock, but instead rule them with force and cruelty.
We live in the New Testament, the promised Day of the Lord. Our risen Good Shepherd has come. Jesus is, in fact, searching for His sheep when the called ministers of Christ deal with us by His divine command. When the pastor preaches the Word of God and thus feeds the sheep with Law and Gospel, Jesus is seeking out His sheep. Jesus said, “He who hears you, hears Me.” In the catechism we are reminded that, “This (absolution) is just as valid and certain even in heaven, as if Christ our dear Lord dealt with us Himself.”
Today’s Scripture is directed at the pastors! God does, indeed, want His flock of believers to have shepherds, and He wants those shepherds to feed the flock. The Lord desires that his called ministers “feed my lambs.”
We pray: Good Shepherd, continue to provide for Your sheep that we find in Your shepherding rest for our souls. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.