Today's Reading: 1 Peter 2:21-25
For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:25)
Alleluia! Christ is risen! In the Name of + Jesus. Amen. Peter tells us how we have come back to our Shepherd. It was the Shepherd Himself who brought us, who “bore our own sins in His body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24).
What did we do? We went astray. We saw sin and decided to join in. Go with the group. Do what everyone else is doing. Jump right off the cliff, if that's what felt right. Sheep don't really think. Before you know it you've spread the rumor. Insulted your friend. Blown up at your parents. Clicked the link. Tuned out in church. And on and on. Astray. The first hint of something more flashy and you bleat with excitement and run after it.
So Jesus, the Good Shepherd, takes it all, and bears it in His body on the tree. A brow pierced by thorns. Hands and feet with holes. A side torn open by a spear. In our sins go like thorns and nails and the spear. Out comes blood that washes, cleanses, saves.
By the waters of the font, by the preaching of your earthly shepherd-pastor, and by the good food of His body and blood, Jesus brings you to Himself and cares for you. Saves you. Forgives you.
Here we have a Savior who did not fight back but gave Himself up for you. Here we have a Savior who fights for you against all your enemies to save and rescue you. Now you don't need to fight back — only commend yourself to His care, trusting that He will watch over and provide for you as your Good Shepherd.
Since sheep aren't particularly bright animals, we might take a bit of offense that Jesus refers to us as such. Yet there is a great burden lifted from being one of those animals that has to fend for itself. We'd be lost. Instead, we have the Good Shepherd who takes care of us without fail. Nothing to worry about when He's the One with the Shepherd's staff! In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
What punishment so strange is suffered yonder! The Shepherd dies for sheep that loved to wander; The Master pays the debt His servants owe Him, Who would not know Him. (O Dearest Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken, LSB 439:4)