All through the Bible, and especially in the New Testament, the analogy is made to people as sheep. Jesus told His disciples that He is the “Good Shepeherd” (John 10:1-21). He told Peter to “feed my sheep” (John 21:17). Paul charged the elders of the church at Ephesus to pay attention to the flock and to the wolves that would come to devour them (Acts 20:28-31). And Peter charged the elders to “shepherd the flock among you” (1 Peter 5:1-5). And of course, everyone has at least heard of the 23rd Psalm.
The Israelites had long been a pastoral people. Sheep could be bred in large numbers, and provided meat, milk, and wool, making them an excellent choice for such people to raise. But sheep are not generally known for their intelligence. For example, a sheep will continue to graze and if allowed to, will wander far away from the herd without realizing it is getting lost.
Before the poor animal knows what has happened, it can fall prey to predators because of the lack of numbers or a shepherd to protect it. Or it may simply not be able to find its way, and wander aimlessly. The sheep and their shepherd become very close, and the sheep are wholly dependent on him. There is a bond that forms, and the sheep will absolutely respond to the mere voice of the shepherd because it trusts him.
It is this type of care for God’s people that Jesus assumed when he became flesh. And it is the same care that He expected His apostles to assume and to establish in His church. As His children, we are dependent on Him for our salvation. But it is easy for us to lose our way, and to fall prey to those who wish to harm His church. Those who assume such a role in His church should be respected and always encouraged by the rest of us. It is an awesome responsibility to care for His sheep.
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.