December 12 - Messiah - Isaiah 40:11

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 12 - Messiah - Isaiah 40:11

He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; and He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

Neither Handel nor Jennens intended for Messiah to be a sacred work.  Jennens called it “a fine Entertainment,” and it was rarely performed in a church.  However, the public began to understand that when they attended a performance of Messiah, they were participating in worship.  In 1758, John Wesley attended a rare performance of the oratorio in a church and commented that he doubted if the congregation was ever so serious at a sermon as they were during this performance.  Handel didn’t intend for it to be used for evangelical purposes, it was to be performed in order to delight and charm his listeners.

Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd in John 10:11. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” This is not like a hired hand who runs at the first sign of trouble.  The good shepherd cares more for his sheep than himself.

In John 10:14, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”

The people of Israel were the sheep Jesus knew and those who were ready to hear the good news of the coming of the Messiah, knew him.  They trusted him and were willing to follow.

It is in this passage, we see Jesus signify that the rest of the world would be included in his flock when he says, “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice; and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)

The shepherd cares for his flock, doing everything possible to ensure their health and safety.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He came to lay down his life for his flock.