When he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders. — Luke 15:5
He does not drive the poor weary sheep home. This is not the way the gentle Eastern shepherd does. He stoops down and lifts it up, and lays it on his own shoulder and carries it back. There is a wonderful revelation in this little touch in the picture. Let us be sure that we understand just what the words say.
We all know that Christ carried our sin when He went to the cross. We know, too, that we may cast our burdens upon Him. But here we learn that Christ wants to carry, not our sins only, not our burdens and cares only, but ourselves. The shepherd took up the sheep itself and laid it upon his shoulder.
I am the Burden-bearer;
I Will never pass the o‘erladen by.
My feet are on the mountain steep;
They wind through valleys dark and deep;
They print the hot dust of the plain,
And walk the billows of the main:
Wherever is a load to bear
My willing shoulder still is there.
He does this with “rejoicing” . Can this be true? Has Christ really interest enough in any human being on this earth to be made sad by his wandering, and glad by his recovery? The thought overwhelms me. We can understand a shepherd’s rejoicing when he bears home a sheep that has been lost. We can understand a mother’s joy when her lost child is brought to her door. But that the heart of Jesus rejoiced when He found us, and bore us back toward home, seems too amazing to be true. Yet here the word stands. Then listen to Zephaniah: “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing.” How dear we are to Christ!