I suppose the pastoral office is one of the loneliest vocations on earth, and rightly so in the service of the Lamb who went alone, uncomplaining forth, to drink the Cup of God's wrath to the dregs and to die in utter dereliction. But, just so, the pastor is never alone in the office to which he has been called; for it is and remains the Office of Christ, the great Good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep. And as the very God who crushed Him and put Him to grief was still the Lord, His God and Father, who vindicted Him and raised Him from the dead, so does Christ bring both His own sheep and their shepherds under Him through death into the life everlasting. Even so, Lord Jesus, quickly come.
This Lamb is Christ, the soul's great friend, the Lamb of God, our Savior,
Whom God the Father chose to send to gain for us His favor.
"Go forth, My Son," the Father said,
"And free My children from their dread of guilt and condemnation. The wrath and stripes are hard to bear, but by Your passion they will share the fruit of Your salvation."
"Yes, Father, yes, most willingly I'll bear what You command Me. My will conforms to Your decree, I'll do what You have asked Me."
O wondrous Love, what have you done!
The Father offers up His Son, desiring our salvation.
O Love, how strong You are to save!
You lay the One into the grave who built the earth's foundation.
Lord, when Your glory I shall see and taste Your kingdom's pleasure,
Your blood my royal robe shall be, my joy beyond all measure!
When I appear before Your throne, Your righteousness shall be my crown;
with these I need not hide me.
And there, in garments richly wrought, as Your own bride shall we be brought to stand in joy beside You. (Paul Gerhardt; LSB 438)
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