“These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles
and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’”
Such intentionality is seen here—the Father’s heart, displayed through Jesus the Son who does the Father’s will, to gather His lost sheep to Himself.
Reading this, I’m reminded of one of my favorite passages, found in Ezekiel 34. Those tasked with shepherding the people of Israel had failed God’s people, ruling them with force and harshness, scattering His sheep because they had no shepherd to strengthen, heal, and seek them.
Seeing this, God the Father steps in and declares that He will seek them out. He will rescue. He will be their Shepherd—seeking the lost, bringing back the strayed, binding up the injured, strengthening the weak.
God the Father loves His people. “How can I give you up, O Ephraim?” (Hosea 11:3). He will not abandon them or fail to show great care and provision. “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young” (Isaiah 40:11).
We see this manifested in Jesus Christ, who is “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3). In John 10, the Son boldly proclaims that He is the Good Shepherd. He calls His sheep by name, and they know Him and follow His voice. In verse 30 He says, “I and the Father are one” -Jesus is bringing to life the prophecy of Ezekiel 34. God Himself taking the role of the Shepherd of His sheep, even to the point of laying down His life for their sake.
God gathers to Himself each one of His lost sheep. Both those of the house of Israel and those “not of this fold”—drawn from the east and the west, ransomed from all the nations of the earth. He seeks them out. Heals their wounds. Provides all their needs. And He will not lose one of them.
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even 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.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD