I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.Ezekiel 34:15-16 ESV
The picture of Jesus as our Shepherd is a favorite. In Ezekiel 34, we read about shepherds, religious leaders, who were selfish, uncaring, harsh, even brutal. “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.” Ezekiel goes on to write about how God will shepherd His people, search for them and care for them. He says this “one shepherd” will feed His people!
I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken.Ezekiel 34:22-24 ESV
God feeds His people throughout scripture. When He planted the Garden, He gave good food to Adam and Eve to eat (Gen 1:29). God rained down manna as the Israelites wandered in the wilderness (Ex. 16:4). Elisha fed 100 men with twenty loaves of bread, with leftovers according to the word of the Lord (2 Kings 4:43-44). No surprise then that Jesus teaches us that if we hunger and thirst after righteousness, we will be filled.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!Psalm 36:7-9 NIV
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,Psalm 146:6-7 NIV
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The infant Jesus comes to be our bread, to feed us! He says, “I am the Bread of Life.”(John 6:35)
He says, I AM~ Original, 2009
Power meets lamb
By Him I’m fed
Spirit and life
Amidst the strife
To Him I yield
Wholeness is mine
A life divine
Not only does Jesus come as our Shepherd, as our bread to feed us, but He also sends us out as He sent Peter to feed His sheep (John 17:21), serving one another, pastoral care of one another. While you and I may not be pastors, we also visit the sick, counsel those in need, offer a cup of water as needed, and make disciples. We feed our brothers and sisters, His hands and feet in this world, as we are fed.
Jesus, give us this day our daily bread — you are our bread of life! You alone satisfy the hunger of our hearts. May we always find in you the nourishment we need. You fill the emptiness in our lives. As our Bread of life, sustain us today. We give you thanks. Amen.
If you want to read an additional thought about sharing the bread of life, I invite you to read this post — “I with but a crumb.“