Our verse for today comes from John 10:2, ” But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. “
I’ve never actually seen a real shepherd before. I’ve seen plenty of pictures of them though. They usually are wearing some sort of long frock or outer garment, and maybe a head covering of some sort. They will generally have a stick in hand, perhaps even a traditional shepherd’s crook from the images of our nursery rhymes. Occasionally, the shepherd will have a lamb draped across his shoulders, or a small one cuddled in his arms. The landscapes are lovely – hilly and green, set against a beautiful sky, crisscrossed with gravel paths or spotted with huge stones. But all of these are just images, merely drawings or photos of a shepherd, or what one might think a shepherd should look like. But I’ve never actually seen one, have you?
They must be out there, no? There are sheep out there, roaming countrysides, providing wool or being led to the slaughter. So there have to be shepherds, too, taking care of them, protecting them, rescuing them until their end has come. If sheep are the most appropriate and accurate image of what we are as lost souls, and our need for a shepherd is as great as any, then it would seem a shame that we, or I, have such little exposure and understanding to shepherds and their sheep.
And though we can read about what life as a shepherd once was in biblical times, and we can listen to sermons that analyze and compare the traits of a human shepherd and Jesus, it doesn’t seem the same as if I knew a real shepherd. I have heard about and seen movies about great school teachers, and that’s all well and good. But I actually know a great school teacher, and it’s not the same. It’s important to hear about Jesus as often as you can. Stories and images of Him are food for our soul. It’s imperative to read about Him and read from Him to know His voice and His ways. But it’s most important to know a real Shepherd. So for however long you have left, make it your career to know the real Shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep.
As we seek Him today, seek Him to know Him, more than you ever have before.