Archive for Saturday, March 21, 2009

Faith Forum: Why does the Bible talk about Jesus as shepherd and followers as sheep?

March 21, 2009


Sheep who stray from flock easy prey

Barry Watts, associate pastor, Lawrence Heights Christian Church, 2321 Peterson Road:

It is important to realize that no analogy is perfect, but this is a beautiful, biblical illustration of the relationship between a savior and his people. There are numerous biblical references, including Hebrews 13:20 calling the Lord Jesus the “great shepherd of the sheep.”

First, the analogy is a simple one. Contemporaries of Jesus understood clearly the meaning of this representation. Two thousand years later, we can understand. It is too often trivialized with doctrinal arguments and misconceptions, but the message is simple: Jesus is the shepherd. He knows the way. We need to follow him.

Second, the sheep have a choice whether to follow the shepherd. They are not on leashes but have free will to choose their path. God has given us the freedom to choose our path. Some paths are constructive, and others are destructive.

Third, the flock is vital for the protection of all the sheep. A sheep away from the flock is easy prey for wolves. Christians without church fellowship are exposing themselves to the dangers and temptations of this world.

Fourth, there is no gentle way to express this: Sheep are not intelligent. Some might callously say they are “stupid.” Given to roam without a shepherd, sheep would be lost. They would lack direction. Contrary to our misguided confidence in our own knowledge, there is an intellectual reality: The more we think we know, the more obvious it becomes how little we understand.

The beauty of Christianity is that an all-powerful God sent his son to earth to shepherd his people. He sent Jesus to lead the flock by his example on earth. All we must do is follow his directions. We need to recognize his authority as the shepherd and humbly accept our role as sheep.

— Send e-mail to Barry Watts at

Jesus, like shepherds, protects his flock

Ron Channell, pastor, Family Church of Lawrence, 5150 Clinton Parkway:

The theme of Jesus as shepherd runs prophetically throughout the Bible’s Old Testament and is revealed in the person of Christ in the New Testament.

The culture during biblical times between a shepherd and his flock was characteristically unique. He lived 24/7 with his sheep, protecting them from wild animals, injury, wandering away, while also providing them with nourishment. Psalm 23 depicts this exactly, while identifying the Lord as shepherd. It states, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” The psalm continues on to convey the shepherd’s relationship with his flock, supplying restoration, direction, comfort, safety and removal of fear.

When Christ announced in John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd,” he proclaimed that he perfectly fulfills the loyal, loving and protective role of shepherd for those who recognize his voice and follow him.

The key word is “follow.” In John 10:11 he said, “I lay down my life for the sheep.” Did you notice he said “the” sheep, not “my” sheep? It was all-inclusive. He died for everyone. However, it is up to us to choose or deny him. Jesus states in John 10:27-28, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand.” Safety, peace, comfort and eternal life comes by way of accepting Christ as your shepherd.

The Bible says in Luke 15:4, “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” If you are feeling lost, fearful and without hope today, the Good Shepherd is calling you. He cares for you! He says in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

—Send e-mail to Ron Channell at


Omegatron 8 years, 11 months ago

Shepherd and sheep. That's true of every religion on the planet.

In order for the religion to function it needs shepherds (priest) and sheep (followers). The more shepherds and sheep, the more successful the religion.

yellowhouse 8 years, 11 months ago

Jesus is the Shepherd and the Lamb both!

drederick_tatum 8 years, 11 months ago

One excellent lesson from the Bible is shown when King David sent out 2 Israeli couriers to greet a neighboring tribe and negotiate. The negotiation did not go well and they returned to report they had sliced the other tribe's messengers to pieces. Peaceful King David the shepherd proceeded to slice THEM to pieces right there in the throne room, as everyone else watched. The moral of the story is A) At LEAST "love your enemy" to his face, and B) don't make your king/prophet appear to declare war on him.

Omegatron 8 years, 11 months ago

"Jesus is not religion."

You are right. Jesus isn't a religion... Christianity is. Jesus was just the first shepherd of the christian flock.

Omegatron 8 years, 11 months ago

"Jesus is the Shepherd and the Lamb both!"

Alpha. Omega. The Beginning and the End. Without which the religion wouldn't have been created in the first place.

The first follower of any religion is going to be the creator.

So, yes. He was the shepherd and the lamb.

HermioneElliott 8 years, 11 months ago

Evidently religious people don't post on this paper. I wonder why that is? Make fun all you want. Religion is not going to go away. You can't talk to sense to someone who is being giddy and silly and showing off, like the posters above. I shall rise above it all, and not allow myself to become upset because the whatever are being raucous. Again.

RogueThrill 8 years, 11 months ago

The world would be a better place if everyone stopped trying to convert everyone. I am not your sheep and I don't expect you to be mine.

RaynRavyn 8 years, 11 months ago

Autie, you beat me to it... That was the first thing that crossed my mind when I read the title of this article. :)

Sheep indeed.... Blindly following where ever they are led.

RoeDapple 8 years, 11 months ago

HermioneElliott (Anonymous) says…

"Evidently religious people don't post on this paper."

Jim Jones was religious........ David Koresh was religious...........

I would say there are many posters here who may not be religious in your sense of the word, but would argue that most of them have a faith of one sort or another. You argue that there will always be religion. No doubt you are correct. But the more radical, the more aggressive, the more "right" you become the more you push the masses away. The more religion argues that theirs is the only way, the more it becomes apparent none of them are. So go ahead, rise above it all, be the better (Christian? Buddhist? Islamist?) You didn't say... But don't feel you'll be missed. You will be forgotten before the door closes behind you...

ReadingSports 8 years, 11 months ago

Both Pastors did a nice job.

Glad to see the hateful one's are out in force.

ReadingSports 8 years, 11 months ago

Marion: Because the Bible tries to make nice-nice when the reality is that the Hebrew god is a murderous and cruel diety.

I've asked before, and I'm asking again... Why are you so angry? Politically there's a hairs difference between us, but yet even so I have winced whenever I've ended up agreeing with you. Obliviously there's a big difference in our worldviews.

There is an anger that comes out in your posts. Whether it is politics or any other topic. Maybe your viewpoint on God is an outward projection of the rage that is inside of you.

Sheep are peaceful. Maybe you should find that peace, maybe you should find the shepard. Maybe you should repent of the anger.

God bless you Marion, none-the-less. ReadingSports

ReadingSports 8 years, 11 months ago

Uh, Apparently you forgot nazism and communism, but I thought you were against communism.

But I know that I'm a stupid moron that can't think for himself.

Bless you anyway, you'll always have my prayers. Whether you want them or not. I wish I could say that you wish the best for me, but I don't believe it to be true.

Been nice arguing with you.

ReadingSports 8 years, 11 months ago

I thought we were cruel and murderous? Would you make up your mind!!! :-) (So much fun! So easily provoked, so Un-Christian.)

ReadingSports 8 years, 11 months ago

Jonas, I want you to know... That I have deflied myself. Your fault dude!!! There is a puddle under my chair, who's going to clean that up. Actually probably me.

ReadingSports 8 years, 11 months ago

Your Moral equivalency is intellectually sloppy.
Islam equals Judaism equals Christianity?? Only the truely and supremely ignorant and ... angry :-) would really believe that. You're smarter than that, at least most of the time.

Or do you think that I follow David Koresh and Jim Jones as well. Or maybe you think that Rev Wright and Pastor Channell believe the same things... They don't... BTW.

Yes, Marion we've encountered each other before on these forums. As I have said before, I am a Christian. I actually know some of the pastors that have contributed to this faith forum.

jonas_opines 8 years, 11 months ago

readingsports: Gomen. (sorry) I have found the Laughing Vash to be much more illustrative than a simple LOwelL.

ReadingSports 8 years, 11 months ago

Gomen... language?? Chinese?

in any case I would agree that the laughing Vash was quite effective. Though I didn't actually lose control of my bodily functions, so the apology is unnecessary. Thought you would recognize the hyperbole, which you no doubt did.

ReadingSports 8 years, 11 months ago

"Keep them away from your children." Tacky... bigoted ... and mean spirited as always. So Christians sin.
Frankly, I'll be the judge of who I let around my children and who I won't.

Good points. Ag.

ReadingSports 8 years, 11 months ago

Ag, Well you lost me at the McDonalds thing. I missed your first post, I should know better than to have agreed with you.

ReadingSports 8 years, 11 months ago

Ag, In all seriousness, the most basic, logical, and obvious answer to this question, is also the most simple answer:

While you do have a point, the article is talking about what the illustration means. And if the Bible had used another illustration then we would be talking about that one instead. :-)

jonas_opines 8 years, 11 months ago

Gomen is japanese. It's an easier one to spot transliterated because it for the most part is repetitive constanant-vowel combinations. ka ki ga ma ji tsu chi etc. It's the one that I like the sound of the best.

Yanaqa 8 years, 10 months ago

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