Onward he presses. Over the rocky cliffs. Through another chilly stream. He knows it isn’t far now.
Out of so many, only one is missing, but he won’t lose that one. Softly, he calls out, certain his voice is known. Finally, a reply comes.
He scrambles through brush, cutting his hands and legs on the thorns. After so much, the shed blood is worth it, isn’t it?
He kneels down to free the lost one from its thorny prison. “Come on, little one,” he comforts, patting the sheep before he scoops it in his arms. “I’m going to take you home. And we’ll have to celebrate, won’t we?”
The sheep bleats its answer as it settles on the shepherd’s shoulders. (1)
Have you ever spent much time around sheep? Growing up, I got to observe sheep in their pasture, feed sheep, watch sheep be sheered, and even help care for twin lambs. It doesn’t take long to learn a few things about sheep.
They’re capable of cuteness worthy of nursery-rhymes. They’re useful in their own woolly way. And they’re likely to wind up in dire situations without someone with a shepherd’s heart watching out for them.
They’ll wander into bad places, eat the wrong stuff or eat too much, possibly not take care of their lambs (if they have more than one), fall prey to any number of enemies…You get the idea: Sheep can get in a lot of trouble on their own.
That’s why they need a shepherd-hearted someone to lead them where they need to go, give them “yumthy” (yummy + healthy) food, save them (and their little ones) from their own stupidity, protect them from danger and all-around help them to thrive.
Kind of like us.
Maybe you’re saying, “Speak for yourself!” Of course, I am. However, doesn’t it seem like we’ve all done at least a few sheep-like things in our lives?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a great shepherd, too? A shepherd who could guide us, track us down when we’re lost, provide for us, watch over our little ones, help us overcome our limited understanding, keep away predators, and comfort us with his voice. What if this shepherd even loved us enough that he would shed his blood for us if we needed it?
Well, that, my friends, is what Easter is all about.
We do have a Shepherd Who is able to do all those things for us. Even with His worldwide flock, He values each old ram and each little lost lamb. He has even shed His blood for us (He was also the Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5-7, John 1:29). That’s why we celebrate Easter.
And with a Shepherd like that, I think being a sheep maybe isn’t so bah-bah-bad after all.
1 This is what my imagination sees as I read “The Lost Sheep” in Luke 15:4-7 and think of Jesus being the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) .