By Jeff Gilstrap
Remember who we serve and who we belong to. Christ is Our King.
The passage uses the metaphor of leaders as Shepherds. Shepherds are called to care for the flock. They make sure they are fed and protected. They are responsible for the wellbeing of the flock. The passage focuses on the shepherds or leaders who have abused the flock and have used them for their own gain and have not cared for them as a shepherd should. And because of this lack of care, the Lord will send a new Shepherd who will care for the flock as a Shepherd should. Verse 23 and 24 describe this new Shepherd: “I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.” God resolves to designate a new human ruler over Israel. Thus the “direct rule” of God will be entrusted to a future human ruler, a new King. We note three things about this promised ruler. First, he will be of the lineage of David. Second, this new ruler is not called “king”, but is a “prince”. That is, God remains the real king, and the human, Davidic prince will be regent to effect God’s good governance. Third, the new leader will do the required work of a shepherd and feed the flock. That is, the new king will not be self-indulgent as the previous ones. God is going to reconstitute the public order that will contrast with the old, failed order.
I am not sure Ezekiel had Jesus in mind, but it is for sure that Jesus fulfilled this role as the new prince. Jesus is God’s representative to establish a new Kingdom on earth and therefore is the King of this new Kingdom. As people who declare our faith in Jesus, we become bound to the new reality of this Kingdom. Jesus is our King, and we must live under the rules of this new Kingdom. We live under the reign of this King, the one we call Christ. Our allegiance is to this King first and to no other government or organization. Our lives must be an outflowing of this Kingship. We are called to follow this Good Shepherd out into to the fields to gather in the weak sheep and to challenge and speak out against the fat sheep who are ravaging and taking advantage of them. We are called to question and challenge any organization or institution that abuses its power to oppress people. We must not be blind to the corruptive influence of worldly power. We are called to welcome in the lost and lonely sheep, regardless of their nationality, their skin color, or their lifestyle habits. We are called to extend grace to all. Today, we are reminded of who we serve, and of who we belong to. Christ is our King. Amen.
- How was Jesus a Shepherd to the people?
- How is Jesus a Shepherd to you?
- How can you be a Shepherd to others?
- How does your allegiance to Jesus as King put you in conflict with the world?
By Kenneth Jones
Introit: Christ the King Sunday we begin with “At the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow”.
Opening Hymn: A well known hymn that we sing often for this particular Sunday, “Crown Him with Many Crowns”. It is easy to miss the complexity of the text, so I encourage to pay close attention to the words.
Special Music: “By His Name”, words and music by Jay Stocker, sung by Kenneth Jones.
Responsive Hymn: As response to the sermon, we mix the regal imagary a bit with the shepherd imagery found in our scripture, “The King of Love My Shepherd Is”.
Sending Hymn: One of a series of hymns to affirm the aritcales of the Apostle’s Creed “The Church’s One Foundation”.
Benediction: Finishing up the season of thanksgiving “For the Life That You Have Given”.