Several scripture readings this week depict Jesus as our Shepherd, describing his care for the sheep. When coupling Revelation 7 with Psalm 23 and John 10, a striking reversal leaps from the page. The Shepherd is now the Lamb! “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (7:10). Those coming out of the great ordeal have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Jesus, though God, becomes human. Jesus, though the Shepherd deserving of all power and authority, becomes one of the sheep—lo! He becomes the sacrificial lamb. Jesus proclaims that the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11); yet, he undertakes more. He takes up our life and all our sins and the burdens of this broken world so that we have access to true and everlasting life—so that we can participate in the Triune life of God. Jesus willingly and lovingly bears the suffering, violence, and injustice of this world in order to embody, enact, and manifest new and renewed creation, in which there is no hunger or thirst; and something that was meant to bring life (like the sun) will no longer cause pain and death.
There is one last reversal. The Lamb is now the Shepherd—for “the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd and guide them to springs of the water of life.” The One who knows our every fear, injustice, sorrow, and wound now sits on the throne so that love, righteousness, peace, and justice may prevail and every tear be wiped from our eyes. In this conviction of something yet unseen, we find hope that makes us alive again and gives us strength for today and for tomorrow.
God, help me to recognize the reversals needed in my life. May I experience and embody your intended love, righteousness, and peace. Amen.
The imagery of sheep plays a prominent role in three of this week’s readings. Psalm 23 uses the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep as its guiding metaphor. The Lord is our shepherd and leads us to safe and fertile places. Even when we pass through a dark valley, the Lord is there protecting us with a shepherd’s weapon, a staff. In the Gospel reading, Jesus describes himself as a shepherd who calls his sheep. Because they are his, they hear his voice. In Revelation, Jesus becomes the sheep—or more specifically, the Lamb that was slain on our behalf. Those who endure will praise the Lamb forever. Acts is different in that it focuses on a resurrection story, a manifestation of God’s power working through Peter.
Read Acts 9:36-43. How can you be a witness and a vessel for God’s activity?
Read Psalm 23. Reflect on the questions the author poses in Tuesday’s meditation. Allow God’s guidance and correction to be comforting.
Read Revelation 7:9-17. How does knowing Christ as both Lamb and Shepherd help you work to bring about things not yet seen?
Read John 10:22-30. How does your faith allow you to hold gently your convictions without needing to grasp tightly to certainties?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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