Jesus, Good and Faithful Shepherd

by Sigmund von Birken
translated by Aaron Jensen

Sigmund von Birken (1626-1681) was a famous German poet. He wrote many hymns, only a few of which are still used today including “Jesus, I Will Ponder Now” (CW 98) and “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus” (CW 452). This hymn, set to the melody “Jesu, Meines Lebens Leben” (CW 114), is a confident prayer to Christ our Good Shepherd.

Jesus, good and faithful shepherd
Who the flocks of men does keep
Lead me by your rod and voice, Lord.
Let me be your little sheep.
By what great love you were driven
That your life for sheep was given,
And for me you gave it too.
Let me in return love you.

Shepherds love their sheep so dearly,
And the sheep return his love.
Let’s display our love as clearly,
I on earth and you above.
When you call with love abounding,
I shall be an echo sounding.
When you cry out, “I love you,”
Cries my heart, “I love you too.”

Sheep know well who is their master,
And he knows them each by name.
Let me run to you still faster
As to me you running came.
When the wolf of hell confounds me
And has clamped his jaws around me,
Then you cry out, “I know you,”
And I cry, “I know you too.”

Sheep hear when the shepherd calls them,
Following his voice alone,
And he hears both great and small and
Takes their troubles as his own.
Let me hear when you address me.
Let me run where’re you press me.
Let me always you obey.
Jesus hear me too, I pray.

Jesus, hear my call for rescue.
To your small sheep turn your ear.
Teach me, Lord, for help to ask you
When the vicious wolf draws near.
Let my cries to you be pleasing.
Grant me comfort without ceasing.
When I pray, “Please hear my words,”
Jesus, say, “You I have heard.”

Listen, Jesus, hear my bleating.
Do not hide from me your face.
When I’m crying, begging, pleading,
Jesus, help me with your grace.
In your name you hear me again.
In you all is Yes and Amen.
What great comfort now is mine
Through the Good Shepherd divine.