Jesus is the Good Shepherd. I grew up on an Iowa farm. Although we never had any sheep on our place, I had friends with sheep. When I was a boy, I actually played a lot with the sheep. I think sheep get a bum rap when it comes to smarts. I’m not convinced sheep are near as dumb as people make them out to be. I think the distinguishing character of sheep is that they very skittish. They scare easily. And when they become afraid they make really stupid decisions, like running at full speed head first into a brick barn wall and knocking themselves out.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd. When the sheep get scared, Jesus is committed to bringing them in and keeping them safe. Hired hands are not near as devoted to the welfare of the sheep. But Jesus is the Good Shepherd who owns the sheep and does whatever it takes to provide for them, protect them, and be present with them through leading them in green pastures and keeping wolves away from them. Jesus gives his life for the sheep.
We are such skittish frightened people. Just look at your friends’ Facebook posts for today and see how many of them have some sort of fear at the core of it. Go to church and observe how much discussion there is which is based in the fear and uncertainty of the future. Notice how much your co-workers fret about their jobs and families. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. None of the stupid decisions we make out of fear freaks out our Lord because he gives his life for the sheep. He will not abandon us. And it is this most basic theology of the person of Christ that we all need in order to relax enough to make sound and wise decisions in our present circumstances.
Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd. I will follow you and will not run away out of fear because I know that you are caring for me every minute of the day, and watch over me every minute of the night. Amen.