He will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom.
Who is He of whom such gracious words are spoken? He is the Good Shepherd. Why does He carry the lambs in His bosom? Because He has a tender heart, and any weakness at once melts His heart. The sighs, the ignorance, the feebleness of the little ones of His flock draw forth His compassion. It is His office, as a faithful High Priest, to consider the weak. Besides, He purchased them with blood; they are His property: He must and will care for those who cost Him so dearly. Then He is responsible for each lamb, bound by covenant love not to lose one. Moreover, they are all a part of His glory and reward.
But how may we understand the expression, "he will carry them"? Sometimes He carries them by not permitting them to endure much trial. Providence deals tenderly with them. Often they are carried by being filled with an unusual degree of love, so that they bear up and stand fast. Though their knowledge may not be deep, they have great sweetness in what they do know. Frequently He carries them by giving them a very simple faith, which takes the promise just as it stands and in childlike trust runs with every trouble straight to Jesus. The simplicity of their faith gives them an unusual degree of confidence, which carries them above the world.
He carries the lambs "in his bosom." Here is boundless affection. Would He put them in His bosom if He did not love them much? Here is tender nearness: They are so near that they could not possibly be nearer. Here is a holy relationship: There are precious love-passages between Christ and His weak ones. Here is perfect safety: In His bosom who can hurt them? They must hurt the Shepherd first. Here is perfect rest and sweetest comfort. Surely we are not sufficiently aware of the infinite tenderness of Jesus!
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.