He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom…
The blessed Jesus is represented under this amiable character. The metaphor suggests —
I. THE GRACIOUSNESS AND BENIGNITY OF HIS NATURE. It was goodness, alike unmerited and unsolicited, that originally moved Him to interpose in our behalf. On what penitent did He ever look with coldness and aversion?
II. The idea of PROVISION. As the shepherd leads about his flock from one spot of pasturage to another, so does the Redeemer of His people conduct them to places where nourishment and sustenance may be obtained.
III. The ideas of WATCHFULNESS AND PROTECTION. They are exposed to a variety of perils; but He is vigilant to observe, and omnipotent to defend.
IV. KIND ATTENTION TO THE FEEBLE, AND TENDER SOLICITUDE FOR THE YOUNG. "He shalt gather the lambs with His arm," etc.
V. An idea of THE FINAL BLESSEDNESS RESERVED FOR THE FLOCK. From the tender care exercised over them here, we may infer somewhat of the dignity to which they shall be advanced hereafter. There are many of the ordinary phenomena of nature that fail to engage our wonder, merely because they are not uncommon. What, for example, if it did not come under our daily observation, could more surprise and astonish us than the progressive development of our own faculties? Who could believe that, under the feeble exterior of infancy, there slumbered intellectual energies, which, when a series of years had gone by, would expand to constitute the profound scholar, the enlightened statesman, and the accomplished orator? But multiplied experience has taught us what education and circumstances can do, and we cease to wonder that from the infant mind such fruits are capable of being reared. But surely, when we thus behold the admirable progress of which our nature is susceptible within the narrow compass of threescore years and ten — when we remember that the vast intellect of Newton was ledged in an infant's body — it may serve to remove our doubts as to the higher perfection of which our nature is capable in a future state of being. The goodness of the Great Shepherd in conducting His people to their final state, is most beautifully represented in the concluding verses of the 7th chapter of Revelation — a passage at once so tender and sublime, that it is said our great Scottish poet, from his very boyhood, could never read it without tears.
(J. L. Adamson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.