Psalm 23 is one of the most well known passages in all of Scripture and this morning I found it in the Gospel of Mark. Somehow this psalm leaped over the Prophets and found its way into Mark’s short account of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
In Mark 6 we are told that the disciples return to Jesus and tell him all they had done and taught. He encourages them to get into a boat in order to withdraw for some rest. (A good model for those who are constantly serving others.) However, the crowds recognize them and beat them to their destination. Jesus is filled with compassion for them, because they are like sheep without a shepherd. When the day is nearly over the disciples encourage Jesus to send them away so they can find food and Jesus says to them, “You give them something to eat.” With five loaves of bread and two fish Jesus has them all sit on the green grass and begins to take, bless, break and give what is needed.
The good shepherd leads the sheep to green pastures. The good shepherd has compassion for the sheep and keeps them safe, your rod and your staff; they comfort me. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
I think the real significance of this story is that Jesus cares for the sheep in a deserted place, in the wilderness. Wilderness is always a place of trials. Ironically, it also the place of provision. We see God provide for God’s people in the wilderness throughout Scripture. Perhaps you are in a time of wilderness. Trust your Shepherd, for he is good.