We’re probably all familiar with Jesus being compared to the Good Shepherd who gently cares for His flock. Choosing to depict us as sheep wasn’t just a matter of chance, by our Savior. Being familiar with the agriculture of His day, it was the right choice. People could relate to sheep. They were their livelihood and their sustenance.
Sheep need a shepherd to guide them. On their own, they’d wander away from the flock into dangerous situations which might even take their lives. They were also not too bright. The extremely stubborn needed to be chastised or even crippled so the shepherd would have to carry them – allowing him to keep a close eye on the wayward sheep. They need to be directed to fertile pastures for food – refreshing waters – and places to lie down and rest. They need constant watching.
We’re probably all aware that anointing was a cleansing process for human beings. Anointing was used in the Old Testament for special occasions like appointing a king or signifying a blessing on one chosen to do God’s work. Did you know that shepherds used to anoint their sheep with oil? They’d rub oil into the wool of each sheep’s head, possibly laying their eggs there thus driving the poor animals insane. The oil deterred lice and other insects from burrowing deep into the ears and nostrils of their herd. This act of prevention saved the sheep from banging their heads against stones and causing injury or even death. If you’ve ever had a gnat fly into your nostril, you know what I’m talking about.
Down to the last detail, Jesus is our constant care giver – our loving shepherd. He watches over us every step of the way. When our steps wander off the path, He’s right there to lead us back. He may have to chastise us from time to time in order to get our attention, but He still holds us lovingly in His caring arms. When our minds become infected Satan’s minions, He gently anoints our heads with soothing oil to protect us and cleanse us.
We don’t really like the idea of being sheep. It’s not a very flattering comparison, but to know that we have a shepherd who loves us so much that He laid down His life for each and every human being to walk the earth. Through Him, we never need to walk alone.