And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders.—Here again we have a three-fold series of parallel applications: the love of Jesus for each wandering sheep, bearing and sustaining it in its weakness; the love which led Him to take upon Him our nature, and to bear its infirmities; the love which leads those in whom the mind of Christ is formed to follow in His footsteps, and to act as He acted.Matthew 18:12-13.
go after … until, &c.—pointing to all the diversified means which God sets in operation for recovering sinners.See Poole on "Luke 15:4"
he layeth it on his shoulders; he does not put them on their own legs to go alone; nor does he lead them, and much less drive them before him; but he takes them up in his arms, and lays them on his shoulders: which shows the passiveness of men in conversion, and their weakness and impotency to any thing that is spiritually good of themselves; they cannot think a good thought, nor do a good action, and still less begin and carry on the work of grace in their hearts; as also the strength of Christ in bearing and carrying them, as he does, through all afflictions, temptations, and difficulties, safe to glory; and likewise his great love and affection for them; he loved them before the world began, and he showed it in dying for them, and manifests it to them, when he calls them by grace; and this also expresses the safety of his sheep; for being on him, they are in no danger from the law and justice of God; nor from Satan, or any other enemy; nor of a final and total falling away: and moreover this signifies the spiritual ease and rest which such have in Christ: the manner in which Christ the shepherd carries them, having found them, and laid them on his shoulders, isAnd when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 15:5. ἐπιτίθησιν, etc., he places the found one on his shoulders; not in affection merely or in the exuberance of his joy, but from necessity. He must carry the sheep. It cannot walk, can only “stand where it stands and lie where it lies” (Koetsveld). This feature, probable in natural life, is true to the spiritual. Such was the condition of the mass of Jews in Christ’s time (Matthew 9:36, cf. “when we were without strength,” Romans 5:6).—χαίρων: the carrying necessary, but not done with a grudge, rather gladly; not merely for love of the beast, but in joy that a thing lost has been found, making the burden, in spite of the long way, light. He is a very poor shepherd that does not bear the sheep that stands still, unable to walk (vide Zechariah 11:16, margin).5. he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing] Literally, “his own shoulders.” All anger against the folly of the wanderer is swallowed up in love, and joy at its recovery. “He bare our sins in His own body,” 1 Peter 2:24. We have the same metaphor in the Psalm of the shepherd king (Psalm 119:176; comp. Isaiah 53:6; John 10:11), and in the letter of the Apostle, to whom had been addressed the words, “Feed my sheep,” 1 Peter 2:25. This verse supplied a favourite subject for the simple and joyous art of the catacombs. Tert. De Pudic. 7. See Lundy, Monumental Christianity, pp. 150 sqq.Luke 15:5. Ἑαυτοῦ, His own shoulders) He might have employed the agency of His servant; but love and joy render the exertion to Himself sweet and delightful.
Matthew, If so be that he find it.
On his shoulders
Lit., his own shoulders. "He might have employed a servant's aid, but love and joy make the labor sweet to himself" (Bengel). The "Good Shepherd" is a favorite subject in early Christian art. "We cannot go through any part of the catacombs, or turn over the pages of any collection of ancient Christian monuments, without coming across it again and again. We know from Tertullian that it was often designed upon chalices. We find it ourselves painted in fresco upon the roofs and walls of the sepulchral chambers; rudely scratched upon gravestones, or more carefully sculptured on sarcophagi; traced in gold upon glass, moulded on lamps, engraved on rings; and, in a word, represented on every species of Christian monument that has come down to us....It was selected because it expressed the whole sum and substance of the Christian dispensation....He is sometimes represented alone with his flock; at other times accompanied by his apostles, each attended by one or more sheep. Sometimes he stands amidst many sheep; sometimes he caresses one only; but most commonly - so commonly as almost to form a rule to which other scenes might be considered the exceptions - he bears a lost sheep, or even a goat, upon his shoulders" (Northcote and Brownlow, "Roma Sotterranea"). A beautiful specimen is found in the mausoleum of Galls Placidia, at Ravenna, erected about 450 a.d. It is a mosaic in green and gold. The figure is a beautiful one, youthful in face and form, as is usual in the early mosaics, and surrounded by his sheep. Facing this appears, over the altar, the form of Christ seated beside a kind of furnace, on the other side of which stands a little open bookcase. He is engaged in casting heretical books into the fire. Are they, indeed, the same - the Shepherd Christ of the Gospels, and the polemic Christ of the ecclesiastics
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