Ezekiel 34 is Ezekiel’s prophecy against the bad shepherds of Israel. When Jesus came as the Good Shepherd (John 10), he was fulfilling Ezekiel 34. “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. . . I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness” (Ezekiel 34:11-12).
Over and over again, Jesus intentionally seeks out the distraught–the poor, oppressed, broken hearted, and the outcasts. He temporarily leaves the ninety-nine sheep to search for the one who is lost. When Jesus saw the crowd of 5,000 waiting on the shore, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
This echoes Ezekiel 34:11-24. Ezekiel describes the Lord actively looking for his sheep who were oppressed and abandoned “so they shall no longer be a prey.” The sheep were abused by the shepherds and they “thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad” (Ezekiel 34:21). Jesus immediately recognized who the sheep were that had no shepherd. And he led them as their new shepherd, for God promised: “And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken” (Ezekiel 34:24).