Today, I saw a link on Facebook of a ridiculous news report, which showed the absurdity of response by people who were wholeheartedly behind a fabricated political movement. Since I have no intention of my blog taking on a political tone, I will forego describing the details of the video. In fact, it was not the video details that caught my eye. It was the words of my pastor friend who shared the link. He sarcastically wrote: Sheeple are so cute.
Sheeple—people acting like sheep. Sheep are cute and cuddly and warm and make very cute stuffed animals. However, when we, as people, start acting like sheep, it is not so cute. And yet, scripture tells us we will act like sheep. And not the cute, cuddly kind. Isaiah 53:6 says:
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
For the next 3 weeks, we will focus on sheep and shepherds and abundant life. We will use the following verses as our anchor of study. Actually we will primarily focus on one of these verses, but we need to get the whole picture. Read John 10:10-18. I encourage you to read this whole passage several times this week.
The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
To understand the importance of these verses we need to remember how vital the role of shepherds and sheep were in biblical days. Many key biblical characters were shepherds. Look at this limited list of biblical figures who were shepherds.
Abel, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, Rachel, Laban, Jacob’s twelve sons, Moses, David, Amos, the shepherds who came to honor Jesus.
Jesus always used common language with everyday examples to teach his disciples. Since we are not very familiar with the occupation of shepherding, we may miss some of the implications of the scripture passage, so we need to study what the early readers of the Bible would have already known by custom.
For three weeks we are going to talk about sheep and shepherds. We are going to talk about The Good Shepherd and the way to abundant life through receiving what the Good Shepherd brings to us. Today, pray for God to reveal to you through His Holy Spirit the knowledge you need to grasp in order to more fully embrace the abundant life He is offering to you. I am praying for you today!