A little study of the New Living Translation of the New Testament finds that there are 42 occurrences of the word sheep. Jesus used the metaphor of the sheep and shepherd to describe the relationship between Him and us. In Luke 15, Jesus tells a story about lost sheep and a good shepherd.
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
I was doing some reading about sheep today. Did you know that sheep have great peripheral vision. They can see behind them without even turning their heads. The problem is, sheep have awful depth perception. They have a hard time gaging what is happening right in front of their noses. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Jesus used sheep as a parable of us and him. We do a really good job of looking back don’t we? We wallow in our guilt, we can’t let go of the past. We fall back into old patterns of sin. The problem we have is seeing what is right in front of us. That is why we need a shepherd. We need someone to guide us, to protect us, to save us from harm.