The Shepherd is the Lamb

Shepherd is the Lamb – O.C. Supertones

So what becomes of those
small unwanted souls
Who spend their lives breaking their backs?
Those who dig the gold
for the rich and powerful
Who place their feet upon their necks?

I have owned a copy of this song for many years but only recently took the time to listen carefully to its lyrics.

The Shepherd is the Lamb
Do you understand
That God became a man?
The Shepherd is the Lamb

“Shepherd” and “Lamb” are very loaded words in the bible, epecially the old Testament.

Why “Lamb”? Throughout Israel’s history, lambs took the place of human beings in sacrifice. In Genesis, Abraham is told to sacrifice his son Isaac, but God provides a lamb to sacrifice instead so that Isaac is spared. In the Exodus, every Israelite family sacrificed a lamb to spare the death of their eldest son during the final plague in Egypt. With the institution of of Israel’s law, lambs became central in Israel’s sacrificial system, regularly slaughtered to symbolise the weight of sin and the death that came from rebellion against God.

And “Shepherd”? The greatest shepherd in Israel was David, the shepherd boy who grew up to be Israel’s greatest king, leading God’s people as a flock.

Of course I get this song. It is about God’s utlimate king and shepherd, Jesus, becoming the sacrificial lamb who takes away the sins of the world! (c.f. John 1:29)

Where can the junkies go
when high has laid them low?
Are they truly on their own?
It seems we’ve lost our way
Like sheep we have gone astray
Can anybody lead us home?

The Shepherd is the Lamb
Do you understand
That God became a man?
The Shepherd is the Lamb

But listening to it again over the last couple of weeks, I’ve realised that there is so much more to this song and the truth that it seeks to convey. Ultimately this is about the incarnation, the fact that in Christ, God has taken on human flesh and become just like us!

Why were all these lambs being sacrificed? Definitely not for the sake of sacrifice alone. The sacrifice of young sheep wasn’t an end in itself. Lambs were slaughtered because in that moment of being sacrificed they were identified with humanity. It’s not just that the Shepherd has become the sacrificial Lamb, it’s even more than that, it’s that he has become one of us, one of his own flock!

The Shepherd is the Lamb
Do you understand
That God became a man?
The Shepherd is the Lamb

Who is the champion?
The friend of the suffering?
Of those who were never born?
The King with the crown of thorns

And I’ll consecrate a verse
To the kingdom in reverse
Where the least are most
And the last will be the first

Following Christ is living in a reversed kingdom. God the creator takes on the flesh of one of his created beings. The all-powerful king indentifies with the lowliest of his subjects. The least are the most. The last are the first.

It is an unsurpassable joy to be in his kingdom, one of his flock, one of his family. It is an unsuprpassable joy to see the world upside-down and to know that justice will come for all of those who are broken by the world.

The Shepherd is the Lamb
Do you understand
That God became a man?
The Shepherd is the Lamb

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3 thoughts on “The Shepherd is the Lamb

  1. Anonymous

    Make sure you compare John 10 with Ezekiel 34 and 37. It’s awesome.

    “I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God.” Ezekiel 34.15

    Matt

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    This songs been on my heart today. thank you for your insights. I wasn’t getting the incarnation part of the song … nice to know someone else has been thinking about this too.

    God is good.

    Reply

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