And as for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says to his people: I will judge between one animal of the flock and another, separating the sheep from the goats.
18 Isn’t it enough for you to keep the best of the pastures for yourselves? Must you also trample down the rest? Isn’t it enough for you to drink clear water for yourselves? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?
19 Why must my flock eat what you have trampled down and drink water you have fouled?
20 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will surely judge between the fat sheep and the scrawny sheep. 21 For you fat sheep pushed and butted and crowded my sick and hungry flock until you scattered them to distant lands. 22 So I will rescue my flock, and they will no longer be abused. I will judge between one animal of the flock and another.
23 And I will set over them one shepherd, my servant David. He will feed them and be a shepherd to them.
24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David will be a prince among my people. I, the LORD, have spoken!
In Part Four, we are going to use our time and attention to both discover and to cross a couple of "bridges of prophetic relevance" regarding the reality of the Righteous Rescue made by the Good Shepherd as foretold by Ezekiel in E-34.
One - The Righteous Rescue of E-34 is made known between the Good Shepherd and Zacchaeus [Luke 19]
Two - The Righteous Rescue of E-34 is made complete between the Good Shepherd and all mankind [John 10:7-16]
E-34 Re-Call Bridge [Verses 20-22]
Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will surely judge between the fat sheep and the scrawny sheep. 21 For you fat sheep pushed and butted and crowded my sick and hungry flock until you scattered them to distant lands. 22 So I will rescue my flock, and they will no longer be abused. I will judge between one animal of the flock and another.
The Righteous Rescue of E-34 is made known between the Good Shepherd and Zacchaeus
Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
9 Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
The irony of the name Zacchaeus to the story of his encounter with Messiah Jesus is at least worth a chuckle. In Hebrew, Zacchaeus means; pure or innocent.
The irony of course is that Zacchaeus was in fact anything but pure or innocent. He was in fact a "tax collector" for Rome. The way of Rome in an occupied culture such as the Jews at the time of Jesus, was to employ "local collectors" to collect the heavy tax from the people.
Rome knew that the people would not take advantage of local collectors for fear of Rome itself - but they also knew that local collectors had firsthand knowledge of merchants, herders, farmers, and the skilled trades and services.
Local collectors knew who had the money and who didn't. This system worked fine for Rome because they could down-size operations in an occupied and foreign territory and Caesar would always get what was Caesar's.
This system also worked very well for the shrewd and savvy local collectors who knew firsthand who they could over charge so they could make money from both Rome and their own people. Rome knew, but did not care. The people knew, yet they were powerless to do anything about it for fear of Rome.
And so, year after year they suffered and payed the local collector who became richer and more greedy - but also more hated and isolated from family and community.
When Jesus travels the streets of Jericho and reaches out to honor the obviously dis-honorable Zacchaeus - He does this with an unprecedented yet simple home visit. Jesus speaks prophetically to him, "I must be a guest in your home today." Zacchaeus heard the voice of the Shepherd and welcomes Him into his home.
This was too much for the people - for them it was NOT RIGHT. They had been done wrong and had been cheated and bullied. They were hurt and angry. "What about us they ask"?
In their hurt and anger they could only see what was right about righteousness in their own eyes. However, in the eyes and heart of a Good Shepherd, it was His RIGHTEOUS thing to do. Zacchaeus was indeed made right, pure, and innocent that day, and the rest is history.
The result of the Good Shepherd's righteous rescue of Zacchaeus brought repentance, restoration, and a reconciled and interest-bearing re-payment to all who had been wronged.
Had Jesus done only what was right in the eyes of the people, Zacchaeus would have remained lost, and the people would have remained bitter and broke.
Because of the righteousness of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, ALL are cared for - ALL are provided for.
E-34 Re-Call Bridge [Verses 23 and 24]
And I will set over them one shepherd, my servant David. He will feed them and be a shepherd to them.
And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David will be a prince among my people. I, the LORD, have spoken!
The Righteous Rescue of E-34 is made complete between the Good Shepherd and all mankind
I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. 9 Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. 18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
The endless covenant and eternal veracity of God's promises to His people to always be the Good Shepherd is not only remarkable but so precise and specific - even after century upon century of rebellion and resistance.
For you and I, that is even more reason to have hope for the realistic idea of a Righteous Rescue from the Good Shepherd. The shift from God the Father as the Good Shepherd, to Christ the Messiah as the Good Shepherd is easily seen as we bridge over from E-34 to John's historic gospel.
The context of the ending of the Old Covenant to the introduction and fulfillment of the New Covenant should be fairly clear in this bridge of passages as well. E-4's bold reference to David the King, David the Shepherd is obviously not an indication of a mystical re-incarnation of Israel's glorious past, but more importantly it is a confirmation from their greatest Messianic voices (Ezekiel - Isaiah - Jeremiah) of genuine hope for a righteous rescue in their future. E-34 is revealing that it would all that and even more.
The idea of a righteous Shepherd King was not Israel's idea it was Gods. His first fulfillment of that promise was the shepherd David. And now it would be fulfilled once and for all 485 years later through the Righteous Rescue of Jesus the Messiah, the One Good Shepherd, Jesus the Shepherd King.
John's recollection of the words of Jesus are a true revelation of God's Shepherd heart for His people - only now the Righteous Rescue of His sheep would include the sheep of all flocks and all pastures.
Once again, the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus would not seem right in the eyes of the religious legalism and arrogant pride of the leaders and rulers of the house of Israel. This was not right they would say - but as we know now it most certainly was righteous.
it is important in our day, in the face of the evil of man - to proclaim the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. We need to courageously and without fear acknowledge that the Righteous Rescue of the Good Shepherd will always be beyond what is right with man.
Jesus says, I am the Good Shepherd, I lay down my life for my sheep. However, not just the sheep in this pasture but sheep from all times and all places. They too are my sheep - I will rescue them as well. Don't worry about the wolves - I will lay down my life for you – I will protect you - the wolves evil will not harm you.
The righteous rescue of Jesus the Good Shepherd goes on...
Just as quickly as I lay down my life for my sheep I will pick it up again because I intend to rescue the sheep of all nations and they will be ONE flock. I am the Good Shepherd.
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