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Communion Meditation (2) Our Shepherd-Ruler

But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah… out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people. – Matthew 2:6

Rabbis used this to let Herod know where the King of the Jews, whom the wise men from the East sought, would be born. Micah spoke of “a Ruler who will shepherd my people.”

Bread and WineWe do not usually think of rulers and shepherds together. The shepherd is a lowly person. Often, watching the sheep was the job of boys, or of men on the run. It was a lonely job, with no companions but the sheep. Jacob described his life as a shepherd: “In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from my eyes” (Gen. 31:40).

Rulers, on the other hand, were in the King’s palace! They had authority over others. They “fared sumptuously every day.” Rich men sought their favor – and even gave them bribes.

The prophet spoke of a Ruler of a different sort. This ruler, like His father David, was to be a shepherd. What does that mean?

He also chose David His servant And took him from the sheepfolds… To shepherd Jacob His people…. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands. (Psalm 78:70-72)

So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations. (Psalm 79:13)

This is why we are at this table today – because of our shepherd-ruler who leads us with integrity and skill as He lays down His life for His sheep. That is why we give Him thanks and praise His name to all generations.
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