Have you ever wondered why Jesus compared His followers to sheep? After all, it’s not especially flattering to think of yourself as a fluffy bunch of fur, living in a pasture somewhere. In fact, some may go so far as to say it’s insulting to any human being with a modicum of intelligence. So, why sheep?

First of all, it helps to remember that Jesus taught by using every day, ordinary examples to help people understand God’s intent. He wanted them to see the way God works. It turns out that sheep have some pretty unique qualities. One of those qualities is that they only follow the voice of their shepherd. If they are called to move on by anyone else, they won’t go. Their shepherd is loyal to them, and they return the favor. Jesus called himself The Good Shepherd. He was loyal to His followers. He guided them wherever they went. He still does that!

Psalm 23 reminds us of the roles of a shepherd as he guides the flock. When the Lord is my Shepherd, it means He leads me to the best places to be cared for and nurtured. He knows how to sustain me and He provides for my physical and emotional and spiritual well-being. He knows I can fall into difficulties, and if I fall too far, I may lose my way. A shepherd watches over the sheep to make sure none are lost. The Good Shepherd we call Jesus does the same for us. Once we are part of His flock, He watches over us, provides for us, and keeps us healthy. He knows our limits and the things that give us the greatest difficulty. He guides our steps any time we choose to listen to His voice.

A shepherd also protects the flock from predators. You may recall that the shepherd boy, David, could send predators flying with a direct hit from his sling shot. He kept the hungry wolves away. The Good Shepherd works to keep predators from our current culture away, however you may define them. He restores our peace and brings rest. He offers comfort and blessing.

This is just part of the story, but the analogy reminds us that every day, ordinary people still need a shepherd and if they answer the call of The Good Shepherd, they will be eternally cared for and eternally grateful.

Yup! I’m okay with being called a sheep!