Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

Today's Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-16

Daily Lectionary: Exodus 38:21-39:8; Luke 8:1-21

The perishing [sheep] I will seek, the strayed I will bring back, the broken I will bind up, and the sick I will strengthen; but the fat and strong [sheep] I will destroy and feed it in judgment. (Ezekiel 36:16)

He is risen indeed! Alleluia! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Where do you look for strength? What are you good at? We all know what makes us stronger, faster, smarter, prettier, and just all around better than others. This not only goes for our day-to-day life in the world, but we also apply this to who we are as Christians. "Yeah, I may not be perfect," we say, "but at least I don't do..." You name it. Each of us knows how we fill in that blank.

The Lord doesn't want anything to do with such sheep. Those sheep aren't His. "My sheep hear My voice, and they follow Me" (John 10:27). They're not really sheep, at all! "He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left" (Matthew 25:33). Those goats knew exactly what they'd been doing and how: "Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?" (Matthew 25:44)

But if you've got nothing before the Lord, if all you have are sins, if you're wasting away and dying (either physically or just spiritually), if you're broken, beaten, weighed down, if you're weak--well then, in Jesus, you have the Merciful and Good Shepherd.

For all lost sheep, and only for lost sheep, He does all this. All sheep, who apparently only have sins and don't see anything good in themselves, have all their goodness in their Good Shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep.

He does all this for you, dear Christian. Repent of all goodness coming from you. Repent of all your best and good. If you are sheep, if you are to be kept a sheep, if you have anything at all, it all and only comes from the Good Shepherd Himself.

He sought you. He brought you back. He's bound your wounds. He strengthens you. He died and rose for you. He made you His sheep in Holy Baptism. He brings you back to Himself in Absolution. He binds your wounds with His consoling Word. He strengthens you, gives you life, and keeps you as His sheep with His Body and Blood given you to eat and to drink.

In this life you're perishing, but in Jesus you have life, life everlasting. That's what Good Shepherd gives to you, His beloved and cherished sheep. He is risen indeed! Alleluia! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

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