Lesson for the Lord’s Day

Then said Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of Me this night, for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. Matthew 26:31

One of the most poignant news photos I have seen was of a hearse pulling out of the driveway of the house where former prime minister John Diefenbaker lived. Diefenbaker had just died, and the undertaker had come to take the remains. As the vehicle began to pull away from the house, Diefenbaker’s old dog McAndy, tied to a leash, sat watching it go with a mournful look on his face. We all know some dogs can be unbelievably faithful to their masters, remaining with them even after death. Sadly, this trait is missing in most humans. And it caused grief to the Lord Jesus to know that, when he was seized, tortured, and crucified, that his closest followers would forsake Him and flee. He tried to warn the disciples about what was to happen by quoting Zechariah 13:7, but Peter replied with his proud boast. The disciples were not like faithful dogs, they were like frightened sheep. And the Lord Jesus knew that they would scatter and flee as the Shepherd was smitten.

Today, there is no scattering of the sheep, but a gathering as we the sheep assemble to remember Him. From all corners and walks of life He has gathered us; our assemblage is miraculous because nothing else could have ever brought such a diverse people together for one purpose. We are united in our desire to honour and worship our Shepherd. And we are deeply thankful that we who were once so scattered are united forever. But it took the smiting of the Shepherd to achieve our unity today.

Against the backdrop of man’s unfaithfulness we see the faithfulness of the Shepherd. He did not, and could not, forsake His own. For our sakes, He was stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. We were the ones who were offended; He is the one who stood and bore our stroke. We were the ones who had scattered; He is the one who has gathered. Ours was the love that faltered and failed; His is the love that endured all. -Jim MacIntosh

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