Matthew 9:36 – July 6, 2021

At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36 NABRE           

Jesus has healed, fed, and shown compassion and mercy for the people who have come to Him. Now we see Jesus generally concerned for the people as they do not have a shepherd. Jesus’ heart is moved with pity, He has deep, emotional concern for the people. Without leaders to guide them the people are like sheep without a shepherd. In Ezekiel 34 we have the image of sheep without shepherds and the people suffering due to corrupt leaders in Israel. The people in Ezekiel’s day who do not have a shepherd are not led to walk in the ways of God but are left scattered and vulnerable to attack. So Ezekiel foretells that God will come and shepherd the people Himself, uniting them under one shepherd, a Davidic king. Matthew is trying to show here that Jesus is the fulfillment of this prophecy. Jesus is the new shepherd who will gather the people of Israel. Just as Ezekiel is critical of the shepherds of his day, Matthew is implicitly being critical of the shepherds in Jesus’ day. They do not shepherd the sheep, they are more concerned with their own authority and riches. If Jesus is the Messiah they are not working to share Him with the people, instead they accuse Him of blasphemy and say He is in league with Satan. 

The shepherds are more concerned with denying the Messiah so that they themselves will continue to have a hold over the people. The people depend on the leaders of Israel to share the message of God and lead them to walk in the ways of God. The shepherds forget the people belong to God, not to the shepherds, a shepherd leads and should always point to God along the way. 

Who is your shepherd? Who helps you walk in the way of God?

The people depend on the leaders of Israel to share the message of God and lead them to walk in the ways of God. But they are not leading the people, the shepherds forget the people belong to God, not to the shepherds. Click To Tweet

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