The Shepherd-King – Gospel in Life

The Shepherd-King

Tim Keller |  March 20, 2011

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  • The Church (Unity, Fellowship, Leadership)
Ezekiel 34:11-17, 23-29
RS 329-02


We’re looking at the characteristics— also known as the “attributes”— of God according to the Bible. This sermon looks at an attribute given in the form of an extended metaphor— God as a shepherd.

This particular passage is the longest text in the entire Bible depicting God as a shepherd. We will look at it under three headings: 1) A problem (human beings are sheep); 2) A partial but inadequate solution (human shepherds); 3) The ultimate answer (the Good Shepherd).

Ezekiel 34:11–17, 23–29

God is described as a shepherd and we, humans, as sheep. This comparison highlights how Israel’s leaders failed to guide their people, much like a shepherd guiding his flock. God plans to find, save, and bring his lost sheep back home. Like sheep, we all need guidance. While human leaders can help, the real solution comes from the Great Shepherd, God himself.

1. The problem

When the Bible calls us sheep, it points out how we can be lost and helpless, focusing on short-term needs and losing our way. Even with our ability to reason, we need spiritual guidance, even if it goes against our society’s dislike of authority. Without such direction, we may never find our spiritual home.

2. The partial but inadequate solution

God created human institutions like family, church, and state to guide and take care of us. But these often fail because in our imperfect world, leaders often choose their own needs over the needs of their people, leading to neglect or harm. So, there’s always a need for a perfect shepherd who offers both truth and love.

3. The ultimate answer

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is the best guide in life, showing us the message of truth and love in the gospel. The cross stands for both our wrongdoing and God’s forgiveness. It’s important to respect and trust Christian leaders, fully trust Jesus, and guide each other in the church community.



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