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Sixth Wednesday in Lent Devotion

The Sheep and the Shepherd                       Sixth Wednesday in Lent - March 31, 2021

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want (Psalm 23:1)

LSB 454 – Sing, My Tongue, the Glorious Battle

(Verse 3 of this week’s hymn served as inspiration for today’s devotion.)

Shepherd. This very simple, almost elementary word, portrays a meaning for us as sinful, yet forgiven people.

The word Shepherd has a very clear definition.  According to Webster’s Dictionary a Shepherd is one who tends sheep. In other words, one who cares for an animal that if left on its own would surely wonder off and die. Christ says in Luke 15, “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.”

The fact of the matter is, we are one of those lost sheep. Our fall into sin has scrambled that perfect reality that we once shared with God. We are now lost in our sin to wonder off and die. We rely all too often on a distorted sense of reality apart from God. Just as sheep, we follow what is pleasing to our sight, taste, and other senses; only to find that our following leads us astray. We often look for God in places that suit our needs and where we often think He will be. But again, it is our sheepish ways that lead us in a deadly direction. We are no longer safe, but rather our rebellion against God leads to utter destruction and eternal damnation.

But, as the verse states, there is one who is our Shepherd, one who cares so deeply for us that He paid the ultimate sacrifice in order to bring us back home with the other sheep of the flock. Jesus Christ, our Lord, is that Shepherd. He died for us so that we may be brought back together with the flock in eternal life. Jesus Christ has taken it upon His very body and blood to claim each one of us as His own. As in John 10, Christ says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” We are brought into His flock through our baptism, where the cleansing of the Old Adam washes us clean. Eternal life in heaven is the pasture that we will call home. As sheep gone astray, Christ brings us back to him as the Good Shepherd.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, As we sin and are led astray from you, continue to pull us back to you, that we may live in the gift of grace that is found in your Son, Jesus Christ. Bless and keep all of us as we learn to be forgiven sheep of your flock, claimed as your own. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Rev. Nathan Ruback – Grace Lutheran Chapel