Where Is a Shepherd Located When Herding Sheep? by Pastor Julie



Consider that the gospel of John introduces the metaphor of Jesus as the Good Shepherd whose sheep know his voice. Because the sheep know his voice, they follow, but sheep don’t follow. A shepherd is always behind the flock, not out in front.


The location of the Good Shepherd in John’s gospel suggests a very risky arrangement, one in which the sheep are allotted freedom. Sheep are generally known to lack intelligence. Sheep usually just follow the impulse of their stomachs, moving to wherever the next bite is. Imagine how ineffective a shepherd is who is in front of the flock. The shepherd can’t even see the sheep.


Is it possible that the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd suggest a level of trust? Is it possible that the sheep are trusted to be capable of knowing the voice of their shepherd and actually following that voice? It’s risky.


Perhaps we are free to choose as the text suggests. If we are to choose to follow Jesus, the Good Shepherd it requires us learning his language, the timbre of his voice and more. We can only know another person’s voice by spending time listening to them speak and sing. I pray you find more ways to let Christ speak and sing into your heart so you may follow with a greater sense of assurance that you are on the right path.


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