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The Rev. Melville Scott on “The Love of the Good Shepherd”

April 30, 2017

The Rev. Melville Scott wrote a book called The Harmony of the Collects, Epistles and Gospels: Being a Devotional Exposition of the Continuous Teaching of the Church Throughout the Year, that was published in 1905.  A friend sent me a copy of this book, and it really is a good devotional aid.  Below you will see an excerpt of what Rev. Scott wrote on “The Love of the Good Shepherd”, for the Second Sunday After Easter.

Christ our sacrifice and Christ our example are combined in our Saviour’s description of Himself as the Good Shepherd, in Whom are all the qualities of courage, faithfulness, and patience which a shepherd needs, and of Whom every earthly shepherd is a far-off picture and type.  He has in perfection every mark of a true Shepherd.

A.   Self-Devotion.

The Eastern shepherd, in lands that are waste and desolate, must often imperil his life in contention with fierce beasts and robbers.  Christ did yet more than this, for “He laid down His life for the sheep.”  His only care when the wolf came was to safeguard His little flock.  His self-devotion arises from His ownership:  He will go after the lost until He find it, for it is to Him, “My sheep which is lost.”

B.   Intimacy.

As the shepherd knows his sheep with an individual, almost personal, knowledge, so Christ knows His sheep.  He knows not merely who are His sheep and who are not, but what they are and where they are.  He knows their weakness, “gathering the lambs with His arms, and gently leading those that are with young,” their weariness, their folly.  He knows their temptations, their dangers, and their liability to err.  He is not cold, nor high, nor distant with them, but admits them into personal intimacy with Himself.  They know His voice from the voice of strangers.  This union is one of nature, comparable only to the intimacy which obtains between the Father and the Son.  They are known by Him as He is known by the Father, they know Him as He knows the Father.  This intimacy is the secret of His sacrifice on their behalf.

C.   Pastoral Care.

His heart is even wider than His fold: an inward pressure drives Him to seek His other sheep that are scattered abroad, and to lead them to know Him and one another.  He desires to be their Leader–“them also I must lead.”  Here we meet with the second Sunday thought of “our example.”

Christ is the example of all shepherds who “feed the flock of Christ which He purchased with His own blood,” and who are to be “ensamples to the flock.”  He is an ensample to the sheep.  He has passed through life and death to mark a path, and His sheep are to hear His voice and follow Him until they meet as “one flock, one Shepherd.”

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