Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 and Matthew 25:31-46
1 - Two tales about shepherds and sheep,
2 - one from the Old Testament,
1 - the other from the New;
2 - one from the prophet Ezekiel,
1 - the other from Jesus,
2 - one an allegory, speaking through symbol,
1 - the other a parable, speaking through a storyline,
1&2 - both speaking for God.
1 - From the prophet Ezekiel we learn of God’s kind of
2 - which differs from how most people who posses power operate.
1 - God takes care of the least and the lost, like a shepherd.
2 - Sound familiar?
1 - From Jesus we learn how God’s leadership carries over into
2 - how taking care of the least and the lost becomes a way of
life, connecting us to our true King,
1 - how worshiping God and serving others are intertwined,
2 - on a deeper level than we realize.
1 - Listen.
2 - Open the eyes of your imagination to these two shepherd’s
1 - First, Ezekiel.
2 - (pause) For thus
says the Lord God:
1 - I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them
2 - As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among
their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep.
1 - I will rescue them from all the places to which they have
been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
2 - I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them
from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and
I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the
watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land.
1 - I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain
heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie
down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture
on the mountains of Israel.
2 - I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will
make them lie down, says the Lord God.
1 - 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,
but the fat and the strong I will destroy.
2 - I will feed them with justice.
1 - Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them:
2 - I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean
1 - Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at
all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them
far and wide, I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be
ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.
2 - I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David,
and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their
1 - And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David
shall be prince among them;
2 - I, the Lord, have spoken.
1 - (pause) And now,
listen to Jesus.
2 - (pause) “When the
Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then
he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be
gathered before him, and he will separate people one from
another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he
will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.
Then the king will say to those at his right hand,
1 - ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the
kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I
was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me
something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was
naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of
me, I was in prison and you visited me.’
2 - Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it
that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave
you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a
stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And
when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’
1 - And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as
you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my
family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left
hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal
fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and
you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to
drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and
you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not
2 - Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we
saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in
prison, and did not take care of you?’
1 - Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you
did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to
- And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the
righteous into eternal life.”
The New Revised Standard Version
copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States
Used by permission. All rights reserved.