God As A Sheepherder

Most of us remember the famous parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:1-7). Jesus is telling his hearers that God is the loving Shepherd who cares for each and every sheep in His fold.

In the Hebrew Scriptures the image of God as a shepherd appears frequently. He is the Good Shepherd over His sheep …. who are His people Israel. Both the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel speak of God as a Shepherd (Jeremiah 31:10; Ezekiel 34:12); and of course, the famous psalm of David (Psalm 23). The nation as a whole comes under the care and watch of God the Shepherd. He is leading them, guiding them and caring for them.

Jesus takes the shepherd image one step further. The sheep now become sinners, who have lost their way to God. He takes the Shepherd on a mission. Although there is only one lost sheep (the sinner), this very sheep is precious and needs to return to the flock.

Although we often think of God as being this Shepherd; in the context of Luke, Jesus is placing the responsibility of shepherding upon the spiritual leaders of the people. Jesus told his followers that the scribes and Pharisees “sit in the seat of Moses” (Matthew 23:2). In other words, these religious leaders are the spiritual shepherds of the people. However, they had forsaken their commitment and devised their own rules of obedience.

Note Luke 15:1-7 here.

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets

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