“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)
Scripture is filled with references to sheep and shepherd and Psalm 23 is one of the most recognizable chapters of scripture throughout the world. Another passage that most of us are familiar with is found in Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray.”
In his book, “A Shepherd Looks at the Lamb of God”, Phillip Keller writes, “In the traditional life of the eastern shepherds, the stray sheep were always retrieved and gathered up by the shepherd’s pet lamb. Every shepherd owned a special, hand-reared pet lamb who was considered almost as affectionately as his own children.” It was the pet lamb that was sent to gather the strays. This lamb would be sent to feed alongside of the wayward ones and to ‘encourage’ them to follow him back to the master’s fold. The pet lamb could be counted on to return to his master at the end of the day and through his gentle persuasion, the strays would return with him.
The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, was sent to seek and to save those who were lost. He came to earth as one of us and as the Lamb of God He feeds alongside of us and gently nudges us home.
“Even out of the most difficult circumstances to which our own waywardness and selfishness have brought us, He gently but firmly nudges us in the right direction. In love and compassion and care, He comes to call us back to God our Father and home where we belong.”
As His sheep we are called to do the same--to come alongside those who are lost and hurting and gently lead them to the Good Shepherd who is waiting to welcome them home. “I am the gate (for the sheep) whoever enters through me will be saved. he will come in and go out and find pasture.” John 10:9. As we come in and go out let’s watch for those who are lost and hurting and bring them home to Jesus, the Good Shepherd.