My almost 9-year-old son plopped down in his chair for dinner yesterday and loudly exclaimed, “Sheep are about the dumbest creatures on earth. AND, in the Bible, God calls US sheep!” He paused a moment for emphasis, shrugged his shoulders, and shoved some chicken in his mouth.
At this point, I’m thinking…teachable moment…can’t let this one go or my kids might think God is just sitting up in heaven, loudly guffawing over all the things we “dumb little sheep do.” I asked my son what he thought about being compared to sheep. He said he thought it was “pretty funny.” Okay I can see we’re going to have to dig a little deeper here. I asked him questions about who cares for sheep and so began our discussion about the shepherd. The Good Shepherd. John 10:1-5, 7-15 ESV
10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
David used the illustration of the shepherd taking care of his sheep (Psalm 23) then many years later Jesus, Son of God and brilliant teacher as well, used the same beautiful analogy to explain what He came to be for the people…and for us! Jesus is the shepherd who knows us, knows our names, and has laid down his life for us.
I think it’s pretty typical for a kid to hear something like “sheep are supposedly dumb and people are referred to as sheep in the Bible” so they immediately make the focus about them. How does this affect ME? Is God calling ME dumb? But, I believe, these illustrations are used in the Bible not to put the focus on us – “the sheep” – but to glorify Jesus – the Good Shepherd.
My Aunt contacted me that her best friend’s chemo isn’t working and her doctor says that she has 6 to 12 months. My friend, I hope you don’t mind me writing to you personally for a moment, but I couldn’t help but think about you when pondering the Good Shepherd. When one of his sheep are hurt or lost, the Good Shepherd will seek them, bind their wounds, carry them home. I don’t know if you know Him, but he knows YOU. I don’t imagine to know what it’s like to only have a short time to live on earth. But Jesus does. I know a kind of pain so excruciating that, in the moment, I have asked Jesus to take me home. He has comforted me in those moments. He knows your name. Call out to Him, my friend. You are on my heart.
Let’s talk about the Good Shepherd and grace. My friends, please take time to watch the video included. You may need to go to my website to view (www.syrinxsoldier.com) but the movie clip at the end of the video is worth it. I know it’s a “Hollywood” version of Jesus, but what he does here really happened and it just blows me away! The Good Shepherd will meet you wherever you are, no matter what you have done.
The Pharisees brought a woman, caught in the act of adultery, to Jesus, ready to stone her, according to their law. But, Jesus, essentially, bends the “rules” and instead GIVES HER GRACE! (John 8:3-11) I just LOVE Him. The Pharisees were all mad. SO great. But that’s not the point. The point is, Jesus, The Good Shepherd, offers US that same grace. Journey with me.