Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11, New American Standard Bible)
When we lived in DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly called Zaire), we often saw farm animals in the village. At first I couldn’t distinguish the sheep from the goats, but I finally learned that goat tails are short and stick up, whereas sheep tails are long and hang down. Also, sheep don’t have goatees.
Magnets for Trouble
Sheep get into trouble when they’re so busy eating, they ignore the shepherd. Why don’t strays just run to catch up? Because they rely mainly on sight. Sheep need a shepherd to keep track of them.
One day when we were driving through the village, we stopped for a flock of sheep. A lamb at the side of the road bleated pitifully, and his mama bleated from around the bend, out of sight. He kept calling, and she kept answering, but they couldn’t find each other. If the shepherd boy had not intervened and led the lamb to his mama, they might be trying to find each other still.
Sheep can lose their lives by following the herd, like the nearly 1500 sheep who jumped off a precipice in Turkey. Sheep need a shepherd to steer them away from death.
We, the Sheep
The Bible compares us to sheep who wander. “All we like sheep have gone astray.” (Isaiah 53:6, NASB) One reason I believe the Bible is true is that it describes me accurately: I’m prone to choose the wrong way. Left by themselves for very long, sheep become anxious. So do I. Sheep need a shepherd to calm them and heal their wounds.
Jesus, the Shepherd
The Bible tells us that shepherds feed, protect, and lead their sheep, gather the strays, and tend to injuries. Jesus told the story (Luke 15:2-7) of a shepherd who had one hundred sheep. One got lost. The shepherd didn’t just write him off but went out and searched until he found him. That’s the kind of shepherd I want. That’s our shepherd!
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1, NASB)
September 16, 2014