Summary: Sheep are dumb, directionless, defenseless. Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, pt. 1
Don't miss the main message of the Bible: God loves us! With an infinite love He yearns for us, His fallen children...wayward sheep.
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 any sheep on your way to church today and definitely no shepherds unless they were German.
In many parts of the world you would still see that scene, and 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.
ill.--go to the circus and you will see a lot of trained animals. You can train 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 intellectual ability...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.
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.