• St. Luke's ELCA

Daily Inspiration - April 15, 2021 | The Good Shepherd

“I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” – John 10:16


According to BBC Earth, sheep are surprisingly intelligent animals who experience a vast array of emotions and have a social structure wherein stronger animals stick up for and defend weaker animals. Surprised? I was. I think our modern technology driven culture assumes that sheep are simple creatures, content to graze grass peacefully and wander aimlessly in the absence of strong leadership. Many Biblical examples of sheep certainly seem to contribute to that concept by discussing sheep in a pastoral sense.


But I think Jesus knew what he was doing using sheep as a common metaphor. There is a lot to be learned from the idea of a shepherd (Jesus) guiding his sheep (followers) through dangers to safety. After all, I think it’s appealing to most of us to know that someone knows what is going on and can give us directions, even as we struggle for control and to make sense out of uncertainty. I am struck though by verse 16 of John 10. Setting aside the image of a leader bringing us to safety, I see in verse 16 a call to unity. Acknowledgement that we start out as different flocks – but we are all Jesus’ sheep. If we are meant to be one flock, with one shepherd, perhaps we should try to be a little more like sheep, remembering our similarities over our differences and sticking up for those among us who are weaker and less capable.


Beth Marshall


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