Jesus, the Good Shepherd
Don't miss the main message of the Bible: God loves us…the sheep of His pasture. Fallen children. And He yearns for us with an infinite love.
The relationship of the Shepherd to the Sheep is intended to be a depiction of the love of God.
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
This is a portrait of how much we are loved by our Shepherd.
We may not appreciate this illustration as much as we should, because we live in such an urban society today. You probably didn't see many sheep on your way to church today and definitely no shepherds unless they were German.
In many parts of the world you can still see that scene, but never more than in Bible days. Over and again God in His Word compares His people to sheep.
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;
... we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
As we compare people to sheep, it's not very complimentary, for it describes how needy we are, but at the same time, how loving God is to us, His sheep.
1. Sheep are dumb.
They will follow the leader anywhere…even to their own death. If they fall, they can't figure out how to get back up without help. They can't begin to protect themselves. They just stand there with a sheepish grin!
ill.--go to the circus and you will see a lot of trained animals. Lions and tigers and bears [oh my!] At SeaWorld you will see all kinds of aquatic life responding to prompts. You can train a sheep dog, but you'll never see a trained sheep other than the ones on "Babe", and they were animatronic.
ill.--a real life shepherd had a creek running thru the middle of his property, and built several animal bridges across it so the sheep could graze on both sides of the water. He verified that the sheep could not be taught how to find the bridges or cross on their own. He said they could be 5 yards away from a bridge but they would simply stand at the creek's edge and bleat, longing for the green grass on the other side, until he, the shepherd, came along and herded them to the bridge. They were too dumb to learn, and so needy that he had to do everything for them.
Now, when I say sheep are stupid, and that we are compared to sheep, it's not a commentary on our intellect...it's a spiritual comparison.
Spiritually--until a man is sought by the Spirit of God, taught by the Word of God, and literally caught by the loving grasp of the Son of God, man is spiritually ignorant, and utterly unable to cross over to the other side.
1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
But man, like a sheep, having been sought, taught and caught, can actually then be brought to greener pastures, and more good things can be wrought in him than he could ever find on his own.
Have you ever tried to explain a spiritual truth to a lost person? They stand there looking at you like a sheep looking at the creek. "Well, I just can't see it that way." Don't be upset at them for saying that. It's true...they can't see it! They have no spiritual eyes with which to see.
I mean no insult, but they are spiritually stupid...and so were you before you were brought into the fold...and then your eyes were opened!
Before Jesus shepherded you in the right direction, you may have seen things differently. Maybe you used to say, like an ignorant sheep, "A woman has the right to choose, after all, it's her baaaaahdy! [body]" Then Jesus saved you and changed your mind.
Before we were saved we would flock in the ways of sheer misery! The devil loves to pull the wool over my eyes. How about ewe? But the Good Shepherd combs the valleys and hills in search of old goats that He can bring into the fold of truth and understanding...no kidding!
Today's universities lead dumb sheep anywhere they want, and have the masses brainwashed into believing that life as we know it is a product of evolution.
"The sun shined upon the scum for eons [and we can't explain where the sun came from or the scum came from] and somehow a living cell was formed which somehow became an amoeba which somehow became a fish which somehow became a frog which one day turned into the handsome prince that is me!"
Tell that in the nursery and you call it a fairy tale. Tell that in a classroom and you can call it science. And for some reason no transitional forms can be found in the very complete fossil record.
"I was a tadpole when I began to begin. Then I was a frog with my tail tucked in. Next I was a monkey in a coconut tree. Now I'm a man with a PhD."
I have to admit today that I'd prefer to be a mohhhhnkey indeed, rather than a stupid sheep that doesn't have a GOOD shepherd guiding me down the right paths.
We could go on and on about many other aspects of this life about which our minds have changed because we have a Good Shepherd. Suffice it to say, people are compared to sheep because we need a guide to help us into the pastures of truth.
Sheep are dumb...
2. Sheep are directionless.
By nature, that is. Sheep have a tendency to wander aimlessly, and once they are lost, that's it. They have no internal compass...no sense of direction. Their only hope of getting back safely is if the shepherd goes out and finds them. They are utterly incapable of finding their way on their own.
It's the exact opposite with dogs.
ill.--have you ever needed rid of a dog? Your mind concocts a plan. Perhaps an 'unfortunate accident' will occur. You begin wiping down fingerprints and rehearsing your 911 call. Then, your conscience gets the better of you and you decide instead to take the dog out to the countryside for a joy ride. Somewhere far out in the boonies you drop him off, just near the welcoming porch of a farm house. You drive off hurriedly, and make the many mile trek back home, where you rest comfortably all night, undisturbed by barking...no mangy mutt at the foot of your bed. You awake in the morning and go out to get the paper, and there he is, right on the porch. How did he get there? He had no map to follow. He didn't take notes during yesterday's drive. He has a built in sense of direction, like a homing pigeon, which has often been used in wartime to carry messages thousands of miles when radio silence was required. [follow Earth’s magnetic fields]
We can thank God for the direction God has given our lives, for before He found us, we wandered aimlessly.
Before you get saved, this is what the Bible says about you:
“All we like sheep have gone astray,” and turned to our own way. If you aren't saved, the Good Shepherd is looking for you, and wants to bring you into His fold of greener pastures.
Just as sheep don't look for their shepherd, humans [by nature] don't seek God. A sheep will wander aimlessly until it starves to death or is taken by a predator. The same is true for a hungry, lonely soul. He will starve spiritually or be taken by Satan, the roaming lion.
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
After Adam sinned he didn't look for God, he hid from Him. But God came looking for Adam...in order to redeem him! God is seeking you, don't run from Him. Your sins - God won't rub them in, He'll rub them out!
If you are already saved, guess what? You're still a sheep by nature. We still have a tendency to leave the fold...to crawl under the fence and head for the other side.
This is why Psalm 23 says, "...thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." These are sticks used for guiding, and when needed, disciplining. How is that comforting?
ill.--How many here had parents who loved you enough and were smart enough to spank you? [you got some cute kids. Don’t let me hear of you spanking them! I know you should, and I hope you do…but just don’t let me hear of it!]
Ever been whipped with a hickory switch? How many had to cut your own switch? Were you made to hold still? And afterward, what would you say? "Father, thy hickory switch, it comforteth me!" Not hardly!
God disciplines us because He loves us. And it is comforting to know you have boundaries...lines drawn...guidelines.
Sheep are dumb, directionless...
3. Sheep are defenseless.
Utterly helpless, timid, feeble creatures. Attack a chicken and at least he can peck at you. A dog can bite, a cat can claw. All a sheep can do is run, and not fast at all.
1 Peter 5:8
... your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Even as a Christian, you are no match for the devil. But greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world!
ill.--a boy and his dad went to the big cat section at the zoo, standing right at the edge of the cage, and a lion turned and came right at them. The boy was very frightened, but not the dad. You see, the boy was looking at the lion...the dad was looking at the cage!
Though Satan is a roaring lion, he becomes a caged lion in the presence of God! Stay close by His side. Follow the Good Shepherd!
If not saved, Jesus wants you to be one of His sheep.
v. 7, 9-10
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