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Reading John 10 we see Jesus addressing those listening and us today as “sheep” and Himself as our “Good Shepherd” (John 10:11). Modern ears probably don’t appreciate this analogy just like those at that time didn’t. Why? Because we don’t want to be addressed as sheep! Sheep are stupid and extremely dependent creatures. We humans like to believe that we are intelligent and have no need to depend on anyone or anything. So Jesus calling us sheep was definitely making a statement.

But was he wrong in addressing us in such a way? Honestly no not at all. The truth is we share more commonalities with sheep than we’d like to admit. And because of these commonalities, we are in desperate need of a Good shepherd. If the idea that you are similar to sheep and need a shepherd to guide you makes you a little upset, consider the following ideas and see that this is not only true but is a glorious blessing as well.

First, we aren’t as smart as we think we are. I know we have more scientific knowledge and technological advancements than the past, but with all these advancements, there is still stupidity. And I am not talking about those exceptionally stupid people that end up on funny videos online, but I am talking about each and every one of us.

Humbling right? I know personally I don’t want to admit this truth because I think of myself as a pretty smart person. But when I stop and think, I realize how little I actually know. Not just what I don’t know about God, the cosmos, our earth, history but even more so how much I don’t really know about myself. Proverbs 26:11 says “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” And I know we all can think of someone else this verse applies to, but honestly it applies to us all! How many mistakes have you foolishly repeated? How many times have you told yourself “never again” only to find yourself saying “never again” a short time later?

Proverbs 29:20 says “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Do you sometimes say the wrong thing? Speak too quickly? Honestly, reading Proverbs helps us put into perspective just how sheep-like we really are. While we are the crown jewel of God’s creation, we have arrogantly exalted ourselves because of our knowledge, (“This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up” in 1 Corinthians 8:1), and forgotten how little we really know. We truly are sheep when we consider everything and how little we actually know.

Second, while a degree of independence is good, the type of independence put forth in modern times is unhealthy at best and sinful at worst. Unhealthy in that it causes Christians to foolishly think they can survive on their own without the Church, (can’t love Jesus and hate the Church, sorry), which only leads to very malnourished and nominal Christians. Sinful in that the type of independence we see today desires to convince us that we have no need for Jesus our Good Shepherd or for others. This leads us into idolatry, selfishness, pride and a slew of other sins.

We all need to grow up which is why a degree of independence will always be needed, (to live with your parents your whole life is an unhealthy dependence rather than the healthy dependence God’s desires for our lives), but we also were created to be dependent. First we were created to depend on God. God is our creator, (Genesis 1:27), our sustainer, (Matthew 5:45), and ultimately our salvation, (John 14:6). To attempt to live independent of God is to throw away your true purpose and the joy that is found in depending on our savior.

We were also created to depend on others. Hebrews 10:24-25 says “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” While people are often difficult to be around, (which is why many of us retreat to our own lonely kingdoms), it is through these difficulties that we mature as Christians. Sheep must depend on their Good Shepherd and each other in order to survive. Honestly, we are no different.

Third, because Jesus is our Shepherd we are much more blessed being a sheep than if we were anything else. I love Psalm 84:10: “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” To get to dwell with God even in poverty is better than riches without Him. If being a sheep means I get the Good Shepherd, then I am absolutely blessed to be a sheep! To be a sheep and get God is better than to be anything else without Him.

We are all in desperate need for a Good Shepherd whether we want to admit it or not. But thanks be to God that He has provided us with a Good Shepherd in His Son Jesus Christ. Christians, let’s stop trying to prove ourselves to the world. We don’t need to show them how smart we are or how independent and cool we can be. Rather, let’s realize we aren’t as smart as we think we are and we don’t need to be as independent as the world tells us to be. Rather, let us enjoy and rest in the fact that we have a Good Shepherd who has promised that He will “never leave us or forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5). Oh the joy of being a sheep when Jesus is our Good Shepherd!

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