Read John 10:11-15
11-15 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd will give his life for the sake of his sheep. But the hired man, who is not the shepherd, and does not own the sheep, will see the wolf coming, desert the sheep and run away. And the wolf will attack the flock and send them flying. The hired man runs away because he is only a hired man and has no interest in the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know those that are mine and my sheep know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I am giving my life for the sake of the sheep. (JBP)
It is interesting that the Bible doesn’t liken human beings to hamsters or horses, to cats or canaries. We are mostly compared to sheep. Perhaps that is because we are both rather foolish and rather valuable. It might not seem very flattering to be likened to sheep, but amidst this sobering news there is much better news: we sheep have a good shepherd.
Jesus likens himself to a good shepherd. He truly cares for his sheep. He knows them. He is not some hired professional who cares more for the money than the job he has to do. And in response to such love and care, his sheep also know him.
Humans, like sheep, face regular threats and dangers. The good shepherd, Jesus, provides care and protection. While we may face troubles and feel the good shepherd has somehow left his post, we can look to the one supreme instance where he cared and protected to the limit. And that was on the cross, when this good shepherd cared enough to take our sins on himself, when this good shepherd protected us from the worst that could happen: everlasting estrangement from God.
We like sheep have gone astray, but we have a good shepherd who comes looking for us to bring us home. No use protesting about being called sheep. Better to thankfully recognise we have a good shepherd.