I am so jazzed to write about Jesus, our Good Shepherd. This topic gets me excited because I absolutely adore learning about the parallels between a shepherd and his sheep & Jesus and us, the church! I even have my lock screen as an illustrated picture of Jesus holding a sheep. I look at that picture and my soul feels so safe and cozy!
In Psalm 23, David writes a psalm that describes his relationship with God. He starts by saying, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need.” (Psalm 23:1 NLT)
In Isaiah 40:11 (NLT), the prophet, or spokesperson for God, Isaiah also describes God to the tired and weary people as a Shepherd. He says, “He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.”
Personally, I find sheep to be tremendously adorable :) When I was in college, my best friend and I found this pasture of sheep in the southern part of town. We would drive by whenever we could! And if we weren’t with each other at the time, we would take a picture of the sheep and send it to the other person so we could share the cuteness. But, even though sheep are tremendously cute, they’re ridiculously stupid. Okay, okay, “stupid” might seem rather harsh, but I did look up the definition for both “dumb” and “stupid,” and by definition, “stupid” matches the intensity of this situation.
My Grandma tells me this story from when she and my grandpa had sheep on their farm. The story she tells is that when she arrived home one day, she heard one of the sheep crying. It was crying so loud. She feared it must have been dying–that maybe a fox or coyote got in and hurt it. So, my grandma went around the barn where she heard the cries, and she found the sheep lying down on its back. As she walked up to the sheep, she decided to turn it over a bit to inspect for wounds. The sheep immediately popped up and walked off like it hadn’t just been lying there, crying for its life. My grandma explained to me that the sheep had simply gotten stuck in the rut that the rainwater had created as it fell off the barn! As a child, when I heard this, I was shocked! How could this sheep not just turn over and get up?
But now, after hearing this story, maybe you’re wondering, “Faith, why are you talking so much about sheep, when this is supposed to be about Jesus, our Good Shepherd?” Well, I believe the character of a shepherd is amplified when we look at the character of a sheep. And in turn, the character of Jesus, our Good Shepherd is amplified when we understand who we are as His flock. We are broken sheep that get caught in a rut by the barn, and honestly, go back to that rut again and again.
So, what does this tell us about Jesus? Jesus knows us. He knows our tendencies and our brokenness, and He dedicates Himself to us. The goodness of Our Shepherd is revealed in His dedication to pull us out of the rut, out of the den, or the mouth of the lion, coyote, wolf… And He has done this through His death (while we were still sinners, Christ died for us–Romans 5:8). So now, even in our stupidity, Jesus is there with us. He will never leave us. He will never forsake us.
Do you need reminding today about how much the Good Shepherd cares for you? He does!
Image from: https://paigepaynecreations.com/