“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’” Jeremiah 23:1-6 ESV
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:7-15 ESV
Robin Hood was a hero of old England, and there are many stories told about him. Some of the stories say that he and his merry men lived in Sherwood Forest at the time of King Richard the Lionhearted, who was away from his country fighting in the Crusades. While King Richard was gone, England was ruled by his brother, Prince John. Prince John was a bad ruler, and under his rule the poor people suffered terribly. Robin Hood and his men helped the poor by robbing from the rich who rode through Sherwood Forest. They would use the money they took to help poor people who had nothing to live on. Robin Hood and his merry men hoped one day that King Richard would come back to England and set right all the things that were wrong under the rule of Prince John.
The prophet Jeremiah spoke God’s words of judgment against the rulers of the people of the southern kingdom. The Lord said that these rulers, or shepherds, hadn’t cared for their flocks or led them well. Because of this, the people had been driven away and scattered to other countries. But God promised that in time he would gather his flock back together and give them better shepherds who would care about them and protect them. He spoke about a ruler who would come from the line of David and be a righteous branch on David’s family tree. He would be a wise and just king who would take care of God’s people and keep them safe. He would give the Lord’s righteousness to the people and cover their sins with God’s forgiveness.
Jesus is the shepherd and the righteous branch that God promised. He came to gather his people together and to give his life for his sheep. Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, and he gives his righteousness to his people to cover their sins. He died on the cross to win God’s forgiveness for everyone who believes in him. He is our Good Shepherd who will always be with us and protect us from everything that might hurt our life with him. We can trust Jesus to love us and take care of us and keep us safe among his people, now and forever.
Dear Jesus, thank you for being our Good Shepherd. Please take care of us and protect us always. Amen.