Jesus spoke of the shepherd who had 100 sheep and left 99 to find the one lost one. We often see pictures of him carrying the injured one back home across His shoulders. God calls us all to come home. But more importantly he promises that He will bring us home. Jeremiah 16 good shepherd3:14 says, “I will take you…I will bring you home (to Zion).” This promise is repeated several more times in the book of Jeremiah alone. Other prophets make reference to shepherds also and in Jeremiah 3:15 Jeremiah promises that after He brings them home, “I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”

The use of the term “shepherds” is probably a reference to righteous kings because the kings of Israel and Judah were often referred to as shepherds. Willis says, “The reference to shepherds after my own heart in 3:15 is probably an allusion to kings from the line of David or kings who exhibit a David like character. David, like other monarchs of the ancient Near East, is occasionally referred to as a ‘shepherd’ for his people, and Samuel had said of God’s selection of David, ‘the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart.’” Since God brought these two terms together it seems to indicate as Willis concludes, that “the Lord is planning either to perpetuate the Davidic Covenant (which started with ‘a man after God’s own heart’) or to establish another one on the same basis.”[1] It must be a reference to the coming Messiah.

Jesus refers to Himself as the good shepherd.  It’s in John 10:11, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” There are shepherds at home who will help us stay on track and understand truth, but only Jesus is the “Good” shepherd who can lay down His life for the sheep. God is calling us home, but the good shepherd left His home and came looking for us. God’s call is “not like a mother calling her child home for dinner. When God calls you to come home, he does not just say, ‘It’s time to come home now.’” The lost sheep found himself in such a mess that he could not make it home by himself. He needed help. … He needed his father to scoop him up, put him on his shoulders, and carry him home. …When God calls you to salvation in Jesus Christ, he does not just yell down the block; he scoops you up, plants you on his shoulders, and marches you all the way home.”[2]

[1] Timothy M. Willis, Jeremiah/Lamentations, College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 2002), 59.

[2] Philip Graham Ryken, Jeremiah and Lamentations: From Sorrow to Hope, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 55–56.