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How Jesus is a “shepherd-king”


Di Zwiebackesser - Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 11/20/22

Christ the King is not a tyrant, but a shepherd who guards and provides for his flock.

The Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, recalls that Jesus is the “king of kings.” However, he is not a king in the oppressive sense, but in the biblical sense, a shepherd who guards his flock.

King David, the first shepherd-king

In the Old Testament, we can see that God is slowly preparing his people for the Messiah. He changes their expectation of a king to a “shepherd-king.”

David started out as a shepherd, but when he was to be made king, God continued to refer to him as a shepherd.

You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.

2 Samuel 5:2

David is even referred to as the “one shepherd,” foreshadowing the coming of Christ.

My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow my ordinances and be careful to observe my statutes.

Ezekiel 37:24

Even the prophets called out other kings for not being shepherds.

Your shepherds are asleep, O king of Assyria; your nobles slumber. Your people are scattered on the mountains with none to gather them.

Nahum 3:18

Jesus as the Shepherd-King

The Psalms speak about God as the shepherd, looking forward to the arrival of Jesus.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Psalm 23:1

Jesus himself repeatedly brought up this analogy, even calling himself the “Good Shepherd.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

John 10:11

Scripture clearly shows that Jesus is not like earthly kings, tyrannical and distant in their behavior. Instead, Jesus is the “shepherd-king,” who lays down his life for his flock, protecting it and guiding it to greener pasture.

BibleJesus ChristLiturgy
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