Summary: PENTECOST LAST / CHRIST THE KING(A) - Christ the King is our Good Shepherd who searches for and rescues sinners.
CHRIST THE KING IS OUR GOOD SHEPHERD
EZEKIEL 34:11-16 -- November 21, 2004 – Last Sunday of End Time / Christ the King
11" `For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. 16I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
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Dearest Saints in the Lord:
Christ the King as we have heard in our readings today was no ordinary king. We do not see Christ the King sitting on an earthly throne. We do not see Christ the King with a vast army or ornate palace. Instead we have heard of Christ the King who was questioned on the cross whether he had any authority or power at all (LUKE 23:35-43). We heard how the criminals made fun of Christ the King. But this morning as believers, you and I see beyond just the title of Christ the King. You and I, by God’s grace, know and believe in our hearts that Christ is the King, our King. And Christ as the King, as our text tells us is also our good shepherd. Christ is no ordinary king. He left his throne, his throne, which was perfect in heaven; he left that and came to live here. Christ Jesus lived among us sinners. He lived among us who are subject to temptations. Jesus lived among us so that he might be put to death as Christ the King, our good shepherd. And of course those references are found in the Old Testament as Christ the Savior, Good Shepherd. We also sang that in verse 6 in our hymn (Christian Worship, 358) how he is good shepherd, guardian, friend, prophet, priest, and king. Isaiah writes: “He (the Sovereign Lord) tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young”(ISAIAH 40:11). So this morning the Lord brings us close to his heart once again and holds us near to him as we look and hear and listen to his word. Consider:
CHRIST THE KING IS OUR GOOD SHEPHERD.
I. Christ the King, the good shepherd, searches. II. Christ the King our good shepherd rescues.
I. CHRIST THE KING SEARCHES
Once again these words sound much like today’s reading from Jeremiah (23:2-6). Both sections of scripture come during the same time of history of the children of Israel. It is amazing how often Israel turned away from God, and had to face God’s divine wrath, punishment and justice. So once again the children of Israel no longer lived in the Promised Land. They gave that up. It happened just as Moses said. When Moses sent them into the Promised Land, he said be careful. As you live in the land of abundance you might forget about the Lord your God. The Israelites did exactly that. Worse than that, worse than just forgetting about God, they turned to other gods. They worshiped false gods. In the end, God caused his enemies to come to destroy Jerusalem, destroy the temple, and take away the Israelites as slaves to Babylon. That is where they are now living in Babylon, with no country of their own. This is where they dwell, as slaves subject to a foreign nation.
Ezekiel comes to them. God still sends them prophets, for God did not forget them. Although the Israelites could have thrown up their hands and wonder if there was any future. What is the use; we have been forgotten, forsaken and lost. Even though they did that to the Lord -- they forgot him and forsook him first. Our text began by saying: For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. The Lord knew his people were taken away as captives, but the Lord was going to search for them. He would find them. The Israelites were not forsaken, they were not forgotten, even though they deserved it. But they were given a chance to repent. They were given a chance to consider all the things that they once had and all the things they gave up because of their sinful pride, and because they cared more about themselves than God.