Verse 25. "For ye were as sheep going astray" - Formerly ye were not in a better moral condition than your oppressors; ye were like stray sheep, in the wilderness of ignorance and sin, till Christ, the true and merciful Shepherd, called you back from your wanderings, by sending you the Gospel of his grace.
Bishop of your souls.] Unless we consider the word bishop as a corruption of the word episkopov episcopos, and that this literally signifies an overseer, an inspector, or one that has the oversight, it can convey to us no meaning of the original. Jesus Christ is the Overseer of souls; he has them continually under his eye; he knows their wants, wishes, dangers, &c., and provides for them. As their shepherd, he leads them to the best pastures, defends them from their enemies, and guides them by his eye. Jesus is the good Shepherd that laid down his life for his sheep. All human souls are inexpressibly dear to him, as they are the purchase of his blood. He is still supreme Bishop or Overseer in his Church. He alone is Episcopus episcoporum, "the Bishop of bishops;" a title which the Romish pontiffs have blasphemously usurped. But this is not the only attribute of Jesus on which they have laid sacrilegious hands.
And besides this, with force and with cruelty have they ruled the sheep: but the Lord is breaking the staff of their pride, and delivering the nations from the bondage of their corruption. Lord, let thy kingdom come!