He shall feed his flock like a shepherd
Christ has a flock, a flock of men, a distinct and peculiar people, and it is but one, and that a little one, and yet a beautiful one, though often a flock of slaughter; which is his by his Father's gift, and his own purchase, and appears manifest in the effectual calling, when he calls them by name; to these he stands in the relation of a shepherd, being so by his Father's designation and appointment, and his own consent; and a good shepherd he is, as is manifest by his laying down his life for the sheep; and a great one, being Jehovah's fellow, and the chief shepherd, under whom all others are; yea, he is the one, and only one; and a very careful, compassionate, and faithful one he is; who performs his whole office as a shepherd, not only by providing food for his flock, by leading them into green and good pastures, his church and ordinances; by appointing under shepherds to feed them with the doctrines of the Gospel, the wholesome words of the Lord Jesus; and by feeding them himself, with himself, the bread of life, and hidden manna, whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed; but also by protecting them from all their enemies, the roaring and devouring lion, Satan, and wolves in sheep's clothing, false teachers; and by taking such notice and account of them, as that none of them shall be lost; and by doing all that is expressed ( Ezekiel 34:16 ) , seeking that which was lost; bringing back that which was driven away; binding up that which was broken; and strengthening and healing the sick, as well as watching over them night and day, lest any hurt them: he shall gather the lambs with his arm;
the weaklings of the flock; the same with babes and sucklings, newly born souls, weak believers, mean and low in their own eyes, the smoking flax, and bruised reed, the day of small things, the poor of the flock; these he gathers with his arm of power, and by the ministry of the Gospel, both to himself, his person, righteousness, grace and fulness, and to his church, to partake of the word and ordinances of it, and to nearer communion with him in them; he gathers them up into his arms in a way of protection, when liable to fall into the hands of powerful enemies, and to be hurt by them, and in order to carry them, they not being able to go of themselves, as it follows: and carry them in his bosom;
which is expressive of very great affection to them, such being greatly loved as are put into the bosom, as Obed by Naomi, the poor man's ewe lamb, and a wife of youth; as also of great nearness to him, being in his bosom must lie near his heart, and are indeed upon it; likewise it denotes the most intimate communion with him, and a being privy to his secrets, as Christ in the bosom of his Father is to his; as well as it implies an enjoyment of rest in him, and safety by him; for what can disturb or hurt such as are in the bosom of Christ? and shall gently lead those that are with young;
who have the seed of grace in them, have spiritual principles wrought in their souls, Christ formed in their hearts, are full of desires for him and spiritual things, and carry a burden, that of their sins, under which they groan; these he leads out, and off of themselves to himself, his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, into green pastures, into his Father's presence, and at last to glory; and he leads them on "gently", gradually, step by step, to see their own vileness and sinfulness, to look, go to, lay hold on him, and retain him; he leads them into the truths of the Gospel, and the deep waters of the sanctuary, and proportionably to their strength as they are able to bear, either the doctrines of the Gospel, or the duties of religion, or afflictions and sufferings; see ( Genesis 33:14 ) .