When we read the story of the Lost Sheep, it should remind each of us of what Christ has done for us. He serves as our shepherd and we are His sheep and each time we go astray, He comes after us even if ninety nine are safe, He goes out looking for that one lost sheep. Perhaps to much of the secular world and sadly, to a great deal of the Christian world, going after the one lost sheep doesn’t make much sense but that’s why Christ is called the Good Shepherd (John 10:11).
The story of the good Shepherd is seen in different ways. Yes, it’s a story of how Christ, time and time again, goes out for His children despite our troubling ways. There is much debate about whether or not sheep are smart animals and this article is not to debate their intelligence but to show that we the people, just like sheep, need a shepherd and in this case, a savior. Not because we are helpless creatures here below as we are given dominion over everything in the air, in the sea, and of all things that roam the Earth (Genesis 1:26) but because, just like sheep, we do not know what’s good for us and go astray.
Man and sheep, by nature, are similar in ways that most of us never realize. For example, sheep are prey and their only defense mechanism is to flee but just like most other creatures, they are very curious and wander from the flock. Man, by nature, is curious and we often go astray from the flock or go away from what’s right. Just like animals, curiosity gets the best of us but unlike the house cat, we do not have nine lives but many of us live as though we do. Because of this fact, we are in great need of a shepherd.
In referring to Himself as the Good Shepherd, Christ was saying much more than He is an overseer of man but that He is both good and noble inwardly as well as unique in character. There is another part of this story that many tend to overlook or completely forget and that’s Christ comparing Himself to the religious leaders of the day (the Pharisees): “But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the shep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireline fleeth, because he is an hireling and careth not for the sheep” (John 10:12-13).
For this article, I conducted a great amount of study to learn more about the leaders of this time, their ways, and even shepherds of this day. Interesting enough, I learned that many of the shepherds of were watching over flocks that were not their own. Despite the fact that they were not the owners of the respective flocks, they were expected to exercise great care and concern for the flocks that they were watching over. As we learned from the verses in John, many of these hirelines only thought of themselves which is not the job description or true nature of a shepherd. It’s interesting to note how Christ uses religious leaders as comparison with those that flee when the enemy comes forth.
This is the exact opposite of how Christ works. As we see, when the enemy comes, many of the religious leaders flee to somewhere safe but with Christ, He is always on guard and never loses sight of His sheep. We the People, the church, are in good hands with Christ even when the enemy comes looking to devour us. While there were many hirelines that were in a high position of shepherd, there were many great shepherds who did as they were expected even giving of their lives for the flock and this is exactly what our Savior, our Shepherd, did for each of us. Not only did He give His life for us and died, He did so to pay our debt and offer us eternal salvation.
Just like a good shepherd, Christ gave His life to save others and neglected saving Himself. While Christ did die in a particular time in history, He did not just die for the Jewish people but all people that choose to take up their cross and live for Him: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16). In other words, eternal salvation through the Good Shepherd is not just available for one group of people but for all the lost sheep: “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:15).