The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1
The Eastern shepherd occupied a position of friendship with the creatures of his care to which there is no counterpart among ourselves. In the early morning he would lead his flock to the pasturelands. All day he must closely watch, lest harm should come to them. Should one of the lambs be unable to keep pace with the flock, he must carry it in his bosom. Should one of the flock go astray, he must search until he finds it. Should danger assail, he must be prepared to risk his life.
Now all this is true of our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep. He has a shepherd’s heart, beating with pure and generous love that counted not His lifeblood too dear a price to pay for our ransom. He has a shepherd’s eye, that takes in the whole flock, and misses not even one poor sheep wandering away on the cold mountains. He has a shepherd’s faithfulness, which will never fail, forsake, leave us comfortless, nor flee when He sees the wolf coming. He has a shepherd’s strength, so that He is well able to deliver us from the enemy. He has a shepherd’s tenderness—there is no saint so weak that He will not gently lead, and no soul so faint that He will not give it rest.
Ah, He has done more! “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Isa. 53:6). Punishment and disaster were imminent, but Jesus, from His throne in eternity, saw the danger, and was filled with compassion for the multitudes which were as sheep not having a shepherd. Therefore, He offered His own life as the substitute, and God laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Then was heard the terrible summons: “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the Man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the Shepherd” (Zech. 13:7). “He laid down His life” for the sheep, and thus redeemed the flock (1 John 3:16). Praise Him! Praise Him!
—Condensed from The Shepherd Psalm by F.B. Meyer