Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Church Devotion - Shepherdless - Matthew 9:36

Matthew 9:36                         When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (NIV)

            Last Sunday, I commenced teaching a 4-week class about the Theological Declaration of Barmen. The declaration was written in 1934 and signed by a number of Christian pastors who were deeply concerned about the evangelical church in Germany. A wave of national populism enabled Hitler to rise to power and, unfortunately, most church members allied themselves with his beliefs. The Church Youth movement with about 700,000 children was handed over to the control of the Nazis; readings from the Old Testament were banned from public worship, and pastors had to register their loyalty to Hitler’s government.

            The people were harassed and helpless, anxious about the economy, and resentful of other European nations. They believed that Hitler could restore their prestige and strength, so most of the evangelical church embraced nationalism. They were like sheep without a shepherd, who sadly ended up welcoming and inviting a ravenous wolf into the fold.

            From today’s passage of scripture, we read about the compassion Christ had for His own people. They were harassed and helpless, oppressed and lost. They didn’t know who to turn to in order to be restored. Jesus came among them to help and heal them, to re-guide and restore them to God. Despite this, Jesus still ended up being crucified by the same people that He had come to save. It seems that when good people do not know what to do or say, evil abounds and wickedness triumphs.

            Perhaps you are feeling anxious or lost. Maybe your hopes and dreams have suffered setbacks and you don’t know what to do. Jesus understands what you are feeling; turn to Him and allow Christ to embrace you, guide you, and restore you. He is the Shepherd we all need; He is the Only Savior of all our lives.

Point to ponder

What makes me most anxious today? Am I willing to let Christ shepherd me?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, we live in uncertain times and experience some anxious moments. We sometimes feel lost and powerless. Encourage us to turn to You for help and guidance, hope and assurance. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

Today’s image is one of John’s latest drawings called ‘Lamb of God.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: Lamb.

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