Ezekiel 34:11, “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all the places where they have been scattered…”
I always pause in Old Testament passages that talk about the gathering of God’s scattered people because—according to John—whenever we read about the eschatological gathering of the people of God, we are reading about the achievement of the lifting up of the Son on the cross:
“…Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to get her into one the children of God who are scattered abroad” – John 11:51-52
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” – John 12:32.
In these two passages, the Holy Spirit through John tells us that it will be the saving work of God in Christ—and specifically the climax of redemption and revelation at the cross—that will decisively work to gather together ALL the people of God into one. And this will be not just Jews, but Gentiles also, ALL who are children of promise (Rom.9:8), children of Abraham by faith and not merely blood (Gal.3:7).
This is how the Good Shepherd will seek and save and gather His multi-cultural, trans-temporal, scattered flock….The beloved and eternal Son who is Himself God will take on our flesh and blood and nature, receive in that nature all of our rebellion against God, and bear on the cross the full damnation due our sin. And when His flock—wherever and whenever they are—sees Him on the cross, poured out in sovereign agony, His holy love swallowing up the holy hell due an unholy people, and when they see Him—having defined the limits of hopelessness and horror in Himself—rising again in joyful, vindicated, invincible victory….when His true flock sees that, they will say, “My Lord and my God,” and be gathered into one.
This is what YHWH teaches Ezekiel to anticipate in Ezekiel 34, this is what we have seen inaugurated in the lifting up of our Shepherd on the cross and to the throne, and to know and enjoy our Shepherd more fully is what we anticipate with all our hearts.