“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them. “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.”
In this passage of Ezekiel, God has placed an indictment on the spiritual leaders of Israel. They have failed to be the shepherds God has called them to be, and because of it the sheep of God had further strayed and had no one to gather them and provide safety for them. So the Lord God makes a stunning declaration, that He Himself would become the Shepherd and that He Himself would search out the lost sheep and care for them.
That is amazing! The Sovereign God of creation says I am not only going to serve as the Shepherd of my flock, but I am going to actively seek them out, save them, and care for them. My friend, we do not serve a God that is sitting in the heavens helplessly watching things unfold. No this God is both a transcendent (over and outside of) and an immanent (near and within) God who actively works within His creation to bring about his sovereign plans decreed from eternity past, but the question had to be for Ezekiel, “How will you do this God?”
The answer came almost 600 years later. In a little town of Bethlehem, a child was born in a stable because there was no other place for him, he was laid in a manger and worshiped by wise men and shepherds. How could this infant receive worship, when only the one true God deserves to be worshipped? It is because in that manger laid the God-Man, the Word become Flesh, the eternal Logos, the only Begotten Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Christ. And He had come with a very distinct purpose, a purpose to fulfill the words given to Ezekiel.
The Good Shepherd had come and He was going to lay down His life to save His sheep (John 10:11). He was given the name Jesus (Yeshua) because he would save these sheep from their sins (Matt. 1:21). The Son of Man had finally arrived, and His incarnation had a sole purpose, fulfilling the eternal decree of God in seeking and saving the lost sheep (Luke 19:10). The story of Christmas is the story of God the Shepherd seeking and saving his lost sheep, and caring for them for all eternity and never losing one of them in the process (John 10:28).
And Jesus, the Good Shepherd, as he prayed to his Father the night before his laying down of his life for his sheep, prayed “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the World” (John 17:18). What this tells us is this, as we think about Christmas, and Christ coming to seek and save the lost, we are to be reminded that we have been commissioned personally by him (Matt. 28:19-20), to go into all the nations proclaiming the good news of the Good Shepherd. Christmas is all about missions. So as we enter this Christmas season, remember, the greatest gift you can ever give to someone is the gospel of Jesus Christ.