Pentecost 8 (Proper 11), July 18, 2021

A Righteous Shepherd-King

Text: Jeremiah 23:1–6

Other Lessons: Psalm 23; Ephesians 2:11–22; Mark 6:30–44

  • Jeremiah lived in an era not too unlike our own, since there is an immense amount of pressure to preach pleasing things in order to foster peace and goodwill toward all. However, the many lying prophets of Jeremiah’s day had almost completely driven God’s people away from him with their lying words of false comfort and false peace and false prosperity.
  • God speaks in first person. He makes clear in literal language that the “flock” is “my people.” 
  • Yahweh will undo and reverse their damage.
  • Perhaps one way to relate verse 4 to the age of the fulfillment is to relate it to pastors as undershepherds, serving the true Shepherd-King.

 1. You need a king.

 2. The world’s kind of king will mislead people and serve only himself.

 3. But God promised a different kind of king.

 4. God sent his Son to be our righteous Shepherd-King.

 5. Through this Shepherd-King, you receive true righteousness from God.

  • Flock of sheep daily pass - each sheep would wander off in its own direction until the shepherd came and gathered them together. 
  • Sinners are like that. Without a good shepherd-king, everyone does what is right in his own eyes, instead of what is right in God’s eyes. 
  • As Isaiah confessed for us, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way” (Is 53:6).
  • Ancient Israel can function as a visual aid, as a model of what happens without God’s kind of human king. 
  • In ancient Israel, the king was supposed to be a good shepherd who would gather his sheep and lead them in the ways of the Lord. 
  • Jeremiah states God’s own expectations for God’s kind of king: “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place” (Jer 22:3).
  • But a bad shepherd-king will mislead the people and serve only himself. Jeremiah, as well as Ezekiel in Ezekiel 34, condemned the last shepherd-kings of Jerusalem in his day. 
  • They attended only to themselves. They were only self-serving. They built their own magnificent palace but did not care for the people by doing what was right before God. Their eyes and heart were oriented toward only their own covetous desires. Their practices consisted of shedding innocent blood and practicing violent oppression. 
  • And the worst thing was that they led the people away from the true God toward idols. They corrupted the people, and the people themselves became corrupt and guilty as well.
  • But God did not end his message there. Through Jeremiah, God announced a wonderful promise of a different future. In the future, God will regather the remnant of his flock out of the other lands and bring them back to the sheepfold. Not only that, but

The Days Are Coming When God Will “Raise Up for David a Righteous Branch, and a King Shall Rule and Act Wisely and Do God’s Judgment and Righteousness in the Land”

  • “Things are bad, but good is on its way.” The good that is to come is the Messiah. Jesus will come and reign as King. 
  • Hear the good news. God fulfills his promises of old. He began to restore his exiled people back to the land of Israel in 538 BC and then more in 457 BC. And in the fullness of time, six hundred years after Jeremiah’s promise, God brought his ancient promises to fulfillment. God sent his only-begotten Son to join the human race, to become Israel’s human King from the line of David. 
  • God gave you a righteous Shepherd-King. 
  • Enjoy by faith his rule now. Hear the Word faithfully preached and taught by his called undershepherd, your pastor. Receive the Lord’s Supper rightly administered by his called undershepherd. And look forward to the day of bodily resurrection when you will see your righteous Shepherd-King face-to-face. Amen.