Jesus And Parables Of The Good Shepherd And The Lost Sheep
Parables of The Good Shepherd and The Lost Sheep
The parables of The Good Shepherd and The Lost Sheep are closely related. Jesus speaks clearly about the connection between a shepherd and his sheep. The sheep are totally dependent on the shepherd for everything. The shepherd’s distinct, piercing voice is easily identifiable when the sheep hear it. Any strange voice is taken as a warning of danger and must be avoided. The shepherd cares and loves his sheep. He would sacrifice his life for them.
Jesus, our Great Shepherd, has a still loving voice when He calls us. The challenge is for us to recognize it. How much do you want to recognize the voice of Jesus? With such noisy and busy lives, it certainly is a challenge to quiet our insides to hear the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit. Total trust in Jesus permits Him to train us to hear His voice, especially spoken through the Word of God. When one refuses to listen to the voice of the Shepherd, he becomes “lost” and outside the Shepherd’s realm of protection. A lost sheep becomes vulnerable to an attack from a predator. Guess who this predator is. Avoid the stranger’s voice.
Jesus will do anything to woo you back to His heart and protection. However, you must desire this. As shown in the Parable of The Lost Sheep, the shepherd will do anything to find his lost sheep. When he does find it, he embraces it and carries it over his shoulders to bring home to the flock. This is what Jesus wants to do for you – to embrace you and personally carry you on His shoulders back to your true home, His heart. His love will overwhelm you, especially with the celebration that follows. (The Parable of The Lost Coin also has a similar celebration.)
Jesus, our Good Shepherd, would leave the other 99 sheep to find His one lost sheep. In the world’s eyes, 99 out of 100 is an excellent success rate (99%). Most would forget the lost 1%, BUT NOT GOD. God always strives for 100% perfection for His lost sheep. God ensures we count in His family. That shows how deeply He loves us.
Shepherd’s Rod and Staff
A shepherd’s rod is often called an extension of a shepherd’s right hand. The rod represents strength and authority. The shepherd used the rod to protect the sheep from predators. He also used it to “hurt” (discipline) any sheep from wandering away. The shepherd was excellently skilled in his use of the rod that it was near perfect accuracy every time he used it. He could hurl that rod from a long distance and strike a predator dead. This certainly made the sheep feel very safe and secure with the shepherd. “Thy rod comforts me.”
A shepherd’s rod certainly is an effective tool that keeps the sheep safe and as a weapon of protection against predators. This is a spiritual significance for us sheep. When we wander into areas of sin, Jesus will use His Shepherd’s staff to keep us from wandering. Sometimes He will use His staff forcefully and it will hurt. This is called discipline. However, there are times Jesus will let us wander when we consistently refuse to heed His discipline.
A shepherd’s staff is used for gentle care of the sheep. For example, with a staff’s hook, the shepherd lifts any sheep from a dangerous place the sheep has wandered into. Since the shepherd cannot reach the lamb himself, he uses his staff. Another thing the shepherd does is draw the sheep closer to him so he can touch them, handle them, and clean them. This actually builds a level of intimacy, a level of deep, personal trust between each sheep and the shepherd. The hook part of the staff is actually used to “hook” a sheep from a location that is difficult for the sheep to get away from.
Psalm 23 reflects the deep, intimate care God our Shepherd has for us His sheep.
1. The Lord is my shepherd,I shall not want.
2. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
3. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His Name’s sake.
4. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.
5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
6. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Sheep are very stupid animals. Ever wonder why God calls us sheep? That’s a good reason why. There was a true story that occurred in the country of Turkey in 2005. Shepherds went for breakfast, leaving their sheep grazing in the fields. Before they realized what happened, one sheep jumped off a cliff. Another followed. Then another one followed. Before the shepherds realized the full impact of what happened, 1500 sheep jumped off the cliff. Only 450 died. The survivors landed on the sheep who jumped first creating a cushion for a safe landing. No wonder Jesus said, “Without Him, we can do nothing.”