The Good Shepherd
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus has been compared to a good shepherd and we are his sheep. In first century Judea most people had sheep so they understood this image. Sheep rely on their shepherd, they “hear” his voice and “follow” him. Sheep are easily frightened and tend to stray. Sheep find comfort and direction in being led and in being together in a flock.
Leading and Being Led
Aren’t we sometimes like sheep: not always sure which way to go, easily frightened, and not always aware of the evils that surround us? Like sheep, we can always rely on our Good Shepherd, on Jesus, to lead us. But can we hear the voice of Jesus amid the noisy distractions of our everyday lives? The leadership lesson of Jesus is clear.
The Good Shepherd is the ultimate leader and servant. He lives for his flock and he dies for his flock. For us as followers, the lesson is a little harder to grasp. 21st Century Christians probably have some difficulty identifying with sheep. So where do we learn followership? One way is to seek fellowship with others in the flock. Belonging to a community can give us a feeling of security. We can learn followership by studying the gospels.
The Bible: Our Text Book
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John offer a timeless seminar on leadership and followership. The primary lesson is this: Love. Jesus is literally the epitome, the perfect example of God’s love. And we are drawn to his love. It fills a void in our being that God created precisely for that purpose. We are not coerced, bullied, or driven like cattle into this love. That is not the Good Shepherd’s way. Jesus’ love is the call that we follow. He leads us and he walks among us today. He calls us today. Listen for his voice, answer his call and follow him.