Messiah and Shepherd (Psalm 22 – 23)

Psalm 22 includes many Messianic references, beginning with the very first verse:

Psalm 22:1 (NKJV)

1 My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning?

The first phrase was quoted by Jesus on the cross in the midst of His anguishing death.  He speaks of how the people will treat the Messiah, treating Him disrespectfully and raging against Him.  Jesus also quotes the following:

Psalm 22:14 (NKJV)

14 I am poured out like water,
And all My bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It has melted within Me.

And the following verses describe how Jesus was treated before and during His crucifixion:

Psalm 22:16–18 (NKJV)

16 For dogs have surrounded Me;
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
17 I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
18 They divide My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.

This chapter of David’s writing is monumental in its accuracy concerning the death of Jesus.  It is just one of many passaged that contain references to actions and words that were fulfilled in the life, actions, and death of Jesus.  These types of writings make it certain that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.

Psalm 23 then shares words that are quoted by many Christians and familiar to nearly all:

Psalm 23:1–6 (NKJV)

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

The image of the shepherd is one that easily translates to the role of the Lord in the life of His people.  He supplies our needs, so we do not want.  He gives us rest and peace.  He restores our souls, saving and redeeming us.  He leads us into righteous places and lifestyles that we may glorify Him.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

The paths we walk take us into precarious places.  We walk in places that can destroy us, yet if we walk with the Lord, we can be confident in our ability to survive and thrive.  The rod and staff of the Lord, the Great Shepherd, keep us walking on a straight, safe path.  The rod is a throwable object that can keep a sheep from wandering too far from the herd.  The staff is a long, crooked stick that is used to pull a sheep back into line when it wanders or falls down an embankment or a cliff.  The corrective, directive, protective hand of the Shepherd can save the life of a Christian, so we can trust in His ability to lead us safely.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
Forever.

The Shepherd provides for His sheep.

The Shepherd anoints His sheep to prevent parasites from destroying its brain.

The Shepherd gives His sheep all he or she needs and then some, so that the sheep may bless others.

Goodness and mercy are powerful blessings of the Lord, and they will always be present.  The house of the Lord is the place where a son lives, a permanent abode for children of the King.  It is the place where you can find a permanent home, as a child of God, as a sheep of the Great Shepherd.

Messiah and Shepherd are two very poignant image of who Jesus Christ is.  He is the chosen One to redeem mankind, and the Shepherd leads us and takes us on the path to that redemption.

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