So last week, as we were in the village of Timpa and Lili was sharing the gospel with a 22-year-old woman in front of her house, my mind started to wander because of a flock of sheep that was behind us. I live in a city of near half a million people, so I don’t see sheep every day. And for half an hour or so, I was just noticing things about sheep: 1) All they really ever do is stand around eating; 2) They aren’t very attractive; 3) They don’t keep clean and they smell almost as bad as pigs; 4) They’re pretty easily scared and not that bright. A motorcycle goes by and hearing the sound they run in a panic in every direction, including toward it.
Then, suddenly, the Holy Spirit brought to my mind the verse from John 10. The one where Jesus identified Himself as “the Good Shepherd, Who lays down His life for the sheep.” I had never realized what a radically shocking statement that was before. When you just look at the verse with the Sunday school flannelgraphs of cute little lambs and a smiling, bearded shepherd, you think, “So Jesus gave His life for us. Good.”
But when you’re standing there looking at sheep, and that verse comes to mind, it jars you. You think to yourself, “the good shepherd who did WHAT? If I were ever to suffer the misfortune of having to live my life taking care of this flock of dumb animals, and a wolf or lion wanted to make lunch of them, I wouldn’t even for a moment consider sacrificing myself to save these worthless bags of wool.”
The thing is, that’s how the people Jesus was speaking to must have responded. And really, if anything, He was understating His love for us. The difference between me and a sheep is tiny compared to the difference between my Savior and me. And yet, He really did it. He gave His life for the sheep.
Indescribable. Unbelieveable. Inconceivable, this gospel message is. And yet totally true. I stand amazed. And hope you do, too.