Year 2 Day 289
Read - Mark 6:34
Message - Alan Burke
How did you get on with your homework? If you missed the devotion on Monday I finished by setting a task of having a wee think of all the passages that talk about shepherd. For most of us this isn’t a hard task, we can name a few without much effort. Most likely it’s the words of the psalmist in Psalm 23, ‘the Lord is my shepherd’. For Mark’s readers they would have heard these words of Jesus that “he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (34) and to them it would have had so much more significance that it is to us, they would have known that Jesus was speaking of more than the words of Psalm 23.
Well the people of God when they heard these words written in Mark of Jesus that he had compassion on them for they were like sheep without a Shepherd they would have thought first to the Exodus generation. In Numbers 27 “Moses spoke to the LORD, saying, “Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the LORD may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.” (Num 27:15-17). Similarly in Deuteronomy 34, in 1 Kings 22, Ezekiel 34, Isaiah 40, all speak of the longing for a true shepherd.
In Jeremiah 3 we are told, “And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jer. 3:15). Everything that is going on here is point to how Jesus was the new Moses, the one who would lead the people so that they may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.
Look to where this is happening, although the NIV says v31 “a quiet place” v32 “a solitary place” if you have a KJV “wilderness” (KJV) in the ESV you will read “a desolate place” (ESV) in both these verses. Not only what we are told, in how Jesus had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd but also the place itself in the wilderness, this desolate place, is to recall to our minds the exodus and the years in the wilderness that followed.
The first readers would have seen and understood that this is revealing that Jesus is fulfilling the promises of God for a shepherd of his people. Just as God chosen to meet with His people in the wilderness in the Old Covenant likewise in the new he meets his people in the wilderness also.
In John’s gospel the image of shepherd and Jesus is given to us that Jesus is the good shepherd (Jn 10), God sent Jesus the long awaited shepherd king, fulfilling what God had promised to do. There Jesus doing as God promised the shepherd would do in Jeremiah, feeding the sheep with knowledge and understanding as he began teaching them many things (34). He was teaching them of the kingdom of God, in his compassion he taught them of the importance of repenting from their sin and believing the gospel. Jesus was and is the greater Moses who has come to deliver his people from slavery to sin and death. If we have repented and beloved then you know the hope that is, that you are his, the sheep of his pasture and that you can come before him without fear through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Q50 What is required in the second commandment?
The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his Word. (Deut. 32:46, Matt. 28:20, Acts 2:42)