These nine characteristics of sheep in the Bible are so close to our lives it’s uncanny. Shepherds themselves first declared this likeness. Sheep are utterly dependent upon their shepherd to lead them to pastures (they eat grasses), provide them with water, and protect them from danger. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. The New Testament identifies three types of wolves that will kill, steal and destroy unprotected sheep: false teachers (Acts 20:29), grossly immoral believers (1Corinthians 5:1-2), and those who are repeatedly divisive (Titus 3:10). So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. This Savior is the promised Messiah, the anointed one spoken of in the Old Testament whom the Jewish people anticipated. The birth of offspring in a flock often occurs far off on the mountain side. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep” (John 10:12-13). But consider this, God used that person at a precise time in your life to save your soul and to bring you peace. The qualities that made Jesus the Good Shepherd are the same qualities that still characterize a worthy pastor/elder. The people have such love and respect for him that they instinctively follow. He spoke in a vernacular common to that time. They wanted to interview Paul and learn more about that dreadful day. The aba keeps the boy warm, is able to shed the rain, and at night is used as a blanket in which to wrap himself. A good shepherd rescuing a lost sheep, who had no hope . Then the shepherds became the first missionaries of the gospel! He explained that he was a new person because of the gospel, and he called on others to believe. It was the shepherd’s decision to go and to find the Savior. 1. A third reason human beings are compared to sheep in the Bible is that sheep are prone to wander away from the flock (Isaiah 53:6). Shepherds in the Bible and in Art; Add this: Shepherds in the Bible and in Art by Steve Werlin. A good shepherd led the flock into a protected enclosure and then slept in the opening of the sheepfold. Since the seventh millennium B.C.E., humans have domesticated sheep and made use of their meat, milk, and wool. Many people did not buy what he was saying, even some in the Christian community did not believe him. These docile animals are easily led and completely at the mercy of … A brief formula for being a good pastor/elder is to say to the flock, “Follow me as I follow Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:11). The shepherd is the first profession mentioned in the Bible (Gen 4:2). Most importantly, the good shepherd loves his sheep and sacrifices. Outline: The Bad Shepherds of Israel (23:13-36). You may wonder what is the character of sheep and why God chose to use sheep and goats as symbols for how we act. The gospel of John elaborates this theme by calling him the good shepherd. Goats & Sheep Are Not “Black & White” September 18, 2018 October 17, 2018 A-sheep-LikeFaith 2 Comments. Desert and Shepherd in Our Biblical Heritage – Nogah Hareuveni (1991). Here are some characteristics of sheep and I think you will agree that it is very applicable to us! Now, however, they have a spring their step and a new song of praise as they return to their work. The qualities that made Jesus the Good Shepherd are the same qualities that still characterize a worthy pastor/elder. Simon Peter encouraged elders to “be shepherds of God’s flock” [under their care so that] “when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Peter 5:2-4). Indeed, much of the Exodus story is told with elements of that image: God leading his people through the wilderness, feeding, caring and protecting them. In Luke’s gospel we learn that on the same day Jesus is born in Bethlehem, there are shepherds in the fields around Bethlehem who are doing their job, watching over their flocks. When the Bible says that He gave His life for His sheep, it is because, if someone did not do this, all the sheep would be lost, because they can’t defend themselves. Paul spent the hour-long interview answering questions. But ten years had passed, and Paul was a new person, inside and out. As they come into the place where Jesus is, they communicate to all who are listening the message they heard from the angel out in the field, this is the Savior, who is Christ the Lord. When a soul is claimed for Him, when obvious sanctification happens? 1. One author points out that, in the Bible, “the shepherd image is one of the few that is applied exclusively to leaders.” No fewer than eight times in the Old Testament, God is portrayed as the shepherd of his people. …, The Map Maker: Discover Joyful, Spirit-filled Ministry by Making Disciples and Transforming the Marketplace, Book review: Morality — Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times, A 3-pronged response to the lawlessness of our age. He is good. The shepherds, these characters of Christmas, provide a different perspective on the Christmas story, reminding us that the gospel reaches all people. A major news network decided to revisit the tragedy and run a special on TV. Residents are to return to the city of their lineage. This is still my prayer today. Shepherds were not a very popular group of people. Sheep have no sense of direction. Paul Rickenbacker had walked into the local mall and fatally wounded many of the townspeople. A sheep’s only chance of survival is with the flock under the care of a competent shepherd. In John 10:11, Jesus described himself as “the good shepherd.” That is an important distinction for church leaders to consider. 2. It is written as 90-1-50. Unlike other animals that shed their hair in the spring, many breeds of sheep must be shorn – have their fleece cut off with shears or clippers. God has entrusted believers with this life saving message of hope. Now through Bob Russell Ministries, Bob continues to preach at churches & conferences throughout the United States, provide guidance for church leadership, mentor other ministers and author Bible study videos for use in small groups. The Bible says that Jesus knew what was in men’s hearts. Yet sheep become overconfident, rebellious, or distracted, and they wander away. From decades of experience in the barren Judean hillside, Dr. Hareuveni shares innumerable insights into the desert imagery that winds its way through the Bible’s poets and prophets. When I was 11 years old I was thrilled when the new minister of our church attended one of my Little League baseball games. In the Gospels, Jesus Christ is described as the good shepherd. This brings Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, because they are in the line of David. When the angels reported Jesus’ birth the shepherds immediately went to Him. First, he would have a rod. Understands the needs of the sheep better than they do. The angel had told them who the baby was and how they could find him. This sermon is part of the sermon series "The Characters of Christmas". As believers we must understand that the gospel reaches all people. She knew who the baby was, and this unpopular group of misfits has arrived to confirm it. Back in the fields outside Bethlehem the shepherds sit around discussing what they just witnessed. Fresh sermon illustrations and updates on new sermons, preaching articles and much more! It was his father, Jessie the Bethlehemite, that was named by God as the person that Samuel should see to find the new King of Israel that … I propose 'shepherd-leadership'. At just twenty-two years of age, Bob became the pastor of Southeast Christian Church. As Isaiah 53 teaches, the Messiah did not come in the royalty he deserved. They observe him sacrificing time, money and energy for them. That day, I wrote my prayer in the margin of my Bible in One Year: that I would shepherd the people with integrity of heart and lead them with skilful hands (Psalm 78:72). Paul did not know what to expect but what he heard changed his life. The pastor understands that he is their shining example. Do we hurry immediately to His word when we in turn receive a good report of the Lord’s work in the world today? The shepherds decide very quickly to head into town to find the Savior. The good elder protects the flock even if the adversary disguises himself as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, meaning that many in the church don’t recognize the danger. Every week since that moment, Paul has been discipled by the man who gave the devotion that day, and his life has never been the same. That may have done more to motivate me into ministry than the scores of sermons I heard from him. Can you remember where you were and who God sent your way to announce Jesus and invite you to follow him? The angel said the sign they were to look for that would identify the Savior, was a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, which was normal for any newborn at the time, placed in a manger, which was certainly not normal in that day. There are no better teachers or models of leadership. Luke 2:18 says, “And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” They weren’t amazed that shepherds were telling them; they were amazed at the content of what the shepherds said. While they are there, the Son of God is born, just as prophesied in Scripture. They see … This causes Mary and Joseph to travel from Galilee to Bethlehem to be registered. The good shepherd knows his sheep because “the sheep listen to his voice. So what is a shepherd? The town was ecstatic when they heard of Paul’s life sentence. All rights reserved. We should also understand that Jesus declares that he is the good shepherd thus making him God. The gospel reaches into the lives of all people with a message of hope and salvation. The shepherds leave the site where Jesus is, and return to the fields. When arrested, Paul confessed to the crime and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole. Posted on April 8, 2011 | Comments Off on CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD SHEPHERD. As the interview came to an end, Paul shared with the viewing audience how the Lord saved him and changed his life. As John 10:11 puts it, “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Christ demonstrated His love for us by dying for us while we were still sinners. The birth of offspring in a flock often occurs far off on the mountain side. "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep" (John 10:11). Luke tells us they left in haste to find the one, as told by the angel. Shepherds are often thrust into a difficult assignment and expected to instinctively know how to lead. This setting was not unusual for shepherds, but what is about to happen is something we still talk about to this day. The shepherd used his rod to protect his sheep from wild animals or other threats. The angel does not tell the shepherds to go, but how else could they find the Savior? Sometimes the knob even had nails in it to make it a better weapon. When you look at the deeper meaning of a word, you can look at the total numerical value in different ways (I only use one). What does it mean to feed yourself? This resonated with Paul because he understood what literal bondage was but had no idea the impact of sin on eternal life. The massacre in the mall ten years earlier surpassed anything in prior history. While they are there, the Son of God is born, just as prophesied in Scripture. “I am the good shepherd. 3:4). The gentleman sharing the devotion that morning spoke about the good news. I never forgot the fact that he took the time to watch me play ball. Born into an entrepreneurial family, Martha has been involved in small business her entire life. Most importantly, the good shepherd loves his sheep and sacrifices. The angel has good news (the gospel) which is great joy and is for all people. God dispatches an angel to this region of the world with a special announcement and invitation. This sudden appearance in the dark sky brings fear on the shepherds (I think we would have all jumped out of our skin at this appearance in the middle of the night). From the idea of the shepherd as a protector and leader of the flock, came the concept of God as the Shepherd of Israel. As believers we must understand that the gospel reaches all people, a lesson we can learn from the shepherds at Christmas. See the whole series here. He calls his own sheep by name…” (John 10:3). So, maybe being placed in a feeding trough was fitting for the one who is the bread of life. Shepherds may also dock, or cut off, the tails of young lambs. The shepherd's garb The dress of an Arab shepherd lad is a simple tunic of cotton that is girded around his body by a leathern girdle, and his outer garment, called aba , is often of camel's hair, like that of John the Baptist (Matt. Here are five qualities that I found, that describe a good shepherd, along with five scriptures that show why this is such a perfect description of Jesus…. I’m struck in Luke 2:16 of the shepherds “hurrying” to see and adore the Babe. In these verses God teaches us that a census has been ordered in the land. A good pastor takes time to listen to people, learns as many of their names as possible, and takes a keen interest in their everyday activities. Jesus never coercesus; He invitesus to follow Him. Packed into that one statement is the good news everyone needs to hear. My friend Wessel sent me this sermon a few days ago because I was looking for a good sermon on grace. I’ve listened to it 3 times already. Jacob so addressed God in the days just before his death . Just as fast as the angels appeared in the sky, they vanish from sight and the shepherds are plunged into darkness once again. The Bible contains many prophetic references to the One who would be the Ideal Shepherd , the Perfect Shepherd (Ezekiel 34:11-16), and a Savior who would see the multitudes as sheep having no shepherd or, even worse, a worthless shepherd (Zechariah 11:16-17). This message on Matthew 23 was preached at Littleton Bible Chapel on February 2, 2012. As you know, the shepherd image has a long history within the Bible. A strong sympathy for helpless animals, though sometimes misdirected, is a marked characteristic of the people of Bible lands. The characteristic of false shepherds (vv. This unpopular group of people is the first group to whom God announces the birth of his Son. Sign Up For Our Newsletter The Bible sketches out in great detail what a good shepherd would look like both in the Psalms and in the words of Christ himself. A local church has adopted the prison and they come to share God’s Word and be an encouragement for the inmates. While we do not know how many shepherds there were, the plural usage of the term helps us conclude there were multiple shepherds in the field. A strong sympathy for helpless animals, though sometimes misdirected, is a marked characteristic of the people of Bible lands. Paul sat in his cell and spent most of his waking hours reading the Scriptures and growing in Christ. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. The shepherds heard and were impacted by the gospel—this group of people who were unpopular in society, seen as a criminal, and without a religious bone in their bodies. The good shepherd also protects his sheep. Scripture’s story of shepherding begins in earnest when God brings his people up out of Egypt, guides them through the wilderness for forty years, and leads them safely into their own land. They seem to … The church senses that the good shepherd genuinely cares for them and puts their interest ahead of his own. Stop for a moment and let this idea impact your thinking. He was born to his parents in Bethlehem, but despite his humble beginning, even his father was to play a significant role in history (Isaiah 11:1). They were considered social misfits, thieves, and religious outcasts. The good shepherd knows his sheep because “…the sheep listen to his voice. That is your first and foremost responsibility – not feeding yourself. Let’s look at their duties: 1. After Jesus’ resurrection, he passes th… The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep" (Jon 10:12,13). Finally, as human occupations go, shepherds are unique. Like the shepherds, Paul had a new song of praise in his heart. Luke tell us that it was night when the shepherds were watching their flocks in the fields. His Shepherd Psalm has become the classic of the ages. That is why integrity and consistency represent essential virtues for pastors. Paul never attended these services; never thought they were important and often thought of them as a waste of time. A good pastor does not manipulate or threaten the flock. A shepherd’s responsibility is to feed the flock. The first words from the angel’s mouth are to calm their fears. The life of the shepherd was excellent preparation for one who should lead God’s people (cf. However, in this study, we want to see the characteristics of a good shepherd and how we are in the role of a shepherd. It is God’s grace that saves a person through faith. One tradition that some families have is to read the Christmas story on Christmas morning before gifts are open. Christmas time is filled with tradition. The Divine Shepherd of the Exodus. Copyright © 2021 Networld Media Group, LLC. The night sky lights up with the glory of God and all those sitting in the fields were overcome by the light’s intensity. As Paul sat quietly in his metal chair, in the state issued orange jumpsuit, God grabbed a hold of his life and Paul gave his life to Christ. In biblical history, this image passes from God to his leaders as Moses, David and the elders here in the NT are referred to as shepherds. That small congregation of 120 members became one of the largest churches in America, with 18,000 people attending the four worship services every weekend in 2006 when Bob retired. On a clear night, away from the city’s lights, we can gaze into the night sky and see a multitude of stars. Many people say sheep are stupid. 12 Characteristics of Sheep By DAVID MURRAY of Head Heart Hand. Of course, the ultimate shepherd is Jesus. It would be very good if we possessed this characteristic, because we always want to defend ourselves, we always want our own righteousness to prevail; we always think we are right, and we fight for it to the end. His crime and arrest made national news and was the talk of the country, because it was the largest tragedy in history at a public venue. Paul’s crime had made national news. The shepherd also carried a long staff. Why We Are Compared to Sheep in the Bible. Out in the field’s shepherds are watching their flocks. God arranges a census to be taken in the land. The beginning of the Messiah’s days on earth started in great humility, as he was placed in a feeding trough for animals. Chances are good the story you chose to read from the Bible is Luke 2:1-20. The shepherd solicitously guards the mother during her helpless moments and picks up the lamb and carries it to the fold. This announcement brings a host of angels in the night sky who bring God the praise and glory he rightly deserves because peace is the result of this joyful good news. They observe him sacrificing time, money and energy for them. This is the group that God chose to speak to in the field. 1. Tom Harper is publisher of BiblicalLeadership.com and CEO of Networld Media Group, the site's parent …. Christianity Today strengthens the church by richly communicating the breadth of the true, good, and beautiful gospel. First, the Bible says Jesus is the “Good Shepherd” and the “Chief Shepherd.” Second, it’s easy to see the parallels between the “Good Shepherd” and pastors. So many shepherds in the Bible. 1. Chances are good the story you chose to read from the Bible is Luke 2:1-20. No one is beyond the reach of God’s grace. Bible Verses about Jesus Christ as Shepherd. The church senses that the good shepherd genuinely cares for them and puts their interest ahead of his own. This is what the shepherds were to look for in the city of Bethlehem. Some of my friends pitched in with sermons, but this one from a South African church was BY FAR the best. Third, I want to identify one more type of shepherd. Recently my husband and I heard a popular, famous preacher on the radio, who was preaching on Mathew 25:33 "...and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left." Loves his sheep and develops a close, intimate relationship with them so that they know his voice and trust him. They thought a man who committed such a crime could not come to Christ, but that is the amazing thing about grace. Now think about the manger scene. He became the gate and personally blocked the entryway. The Savior has been born to rescue us from sin. In the Hebrew Bible it is always called the shepherd of the flock, the sheep and the goats, termed ‘tson’ in Hebrew. In verse 10 the message comes from a singular unnamed angel and concludes with a host of angels giving praise to God for the peace he has provided to the earth through his Son. They hated this man. With Jesus, there would be no hunger or thirsting. No one would see a halo around his head as he walked through the streets, but his humility would serve as our example to follow today. Kalos, the Greek word, translated “good,” describes that which is noble, wholesome, good, and beautiful. Shepherds in ancient Israel likely worked with, among others, the broadtail Syrian variety of sheep, which have large fatty tails and a thick fleece. This task may be assigned to sheepshearers, whose primary occupation is shearing, or it may be the responsibility of the shepherd. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. This sermon is part of “The Characters of Christmas” sermon series. Throughout Scripture, sinners in general, and God’s people in particular, are described as sheep. For the few days, until it is able to walk, he may carry it in his arms or in the loose folds of … Simon Peter encouraged elders to “be shepherds of God’s flock” [under their care so that], “…when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Peter 5:2-4). Let’s just say they have no sense of direction–at all. The setting is significant. The manger is the epitome of humility. One clue in the context, a subtle hint, supports the opposite view of the legend. Jesus said, “I am the gate for the sheep” (John 10:7). But one Saturday, Paul sensed the need to attend. Residents are to return to the city of their lineage. Any wild animal seeking to harm the sheep could only enter through the gate guarded by the shepherd. Then, “when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Peter 5:4). But reread the Scripture at this moment and listen to the angel’s words. In yesterday’s passage we saw how Paul said to the Ephesian elders, ‘Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. They make her ponder this wonderful moment as she looks into the face of her Savior, the Messiah. Amos 1:1). Biblical Portrayal of Shepherds. Jesus, however, would later teach that he was the bread of life. Back to Paul Rickenbacker who has served ten years of his life sentence. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. In these verses God teaches us that a census has been ordered in the land. The good shepherd leads the sheep: he “leads them out” (John 10:3). Christ claims for Himself the title of the Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14). Jesus taught: “The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. 2-4): a) They feed themselves (2) and horde riches instead of feeding the sheep. “I never thought this could happen in my town,” said the residents of this tiny southern town when they learned the news of the horrific crime. Category: Sheep & Shepherds in the Bible. The text tells us that those who heard what the shepherds said, stood in amazement and wondered at what they heard, but Mary sat by the manger and pondered what they had said in her heart. They were considered unclean and were not able to participate in temple worship. They spent their entire lives taking care of sheep. They know he cares. David Karn is the Senior Pastor at Grace Community Church in Goldsboro, NC. The angel then goes into detail about who Jesus is: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior (rescuer, redeemer, deliverer) who is Christ (Messiah, anointed one) the Lord (Master, ruler).” Packed into that one statement is rich theology. One can only imagine the faces of those present in the stable when the shepherds show up. Maybe you were a young child or a teenager or a young adult when you heard the life changing message of the gospel. However, before turning to these descriptions it will be beneficial to consider in the broadest terms what the focus of a leader of God’s people should be, and in specific how the poor leaders of Israel failed in this regard.The focus of a good shepherd was to be on his flock--their provision, guidance and safety. They spy greener grass in the other direction or fail to notice when the flock moves … As John 10:11 puts it, “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Christ demonstrated His love for us by dying for us while we were still sinners. Ministers inspire people to follow them whenever the people can trust their shepherd to guide them to green pastures. The lowly men went quickly and shared what they heard with others. The message that this hated man heard is the message he proclaimed to others—just like the unpopular shepherds heard the message of hope and proclaimed it to others. This brings Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, because they are in the line of David. 3. Sheep are foolish I don’t know what sheep would score in an animal IQ, but I think they would be close to the bottom of the scale. Bethlehem was not a big city and we can imagine the darkness that consumed the shepherds on this special night. Every Saturday morning during that time, a Bible study has been held at the prison. The rams of this breed are horned, and the ewes are not. They see that he is there to weep with them when they weep and rejoice with them when they rejoice. Shearing the Flock. The staff was used as a walking stick for the shepherd, who also used it to maneuver sheep … From the earliest days of David’s life until his final words to his son, Solomon, King David had a very significant place in history (1 Samuel 16; 1 Kings 2:1-11). A truly remarkable book about the desert and shepherding imagery of the Bible. There is very little practical training for elders today. The story of the shepherds reminds us of and helps us to understand the reach of the gospel to all people. The rod was a sturdy stick with a knob at one end. Remember, these were not guys people wanted to be around, yet it is this group of unpopular people that first come to see the Savior. One of the keys to successful capital campaigns is for church leaders to make advance commitments and for that total to be revealed to the congregation. A shepherd typically carried a few items with him to aid him in his task of caring for the sheep. The shepherd solicitously guards the mother during her helpless moments and picks up the lamb and carries it to the fold. God was working behind the scenes to bring prophetic Scripture to fulfilment. Along with goat, cattle, and pig, they have long been integral to the economy of ancient Palestine. 1. A manger was a feeding trough for animals and served as a bed for the Savior to lay his newborn head. John 10:10-16 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. “Sheep” and “flocks” are mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible, using twelve different Hebrew words and four Greek words. Time and again church members will say, “When I saw what the elders did, I was inspired and knew this was for real.”. He was soon captured and taken into custody. Paul learned that a Savior had come to rescue him from the bondage of sin and redeem him from a life in sin. He calls his own … Their job was dangerous at times, but was mostly boring and tedious. Much more because “ the sheep: he “ leads them out ” ( 10:11... Intimate relationship with them when they weep and rejoice with them so that they know his voice people follow., and God ’ s grace that saves a person through faith themselves ( 2 and... Pitched in with sermons, but that is an important distinction for church leaders consider... This moment and listen to his voice possibility for parole learned that a census been! Under the care of a competent shepherd can trust their shepherd to guide them to green pastures ordered. Inside and out person, inside and out travel from Galilee to Bethlehem, because they are in land. Entrusted believers with this life saving message of the good shepherd: the good shepherd led the flock into difficult... 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