Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
This text and others point out that we are all like sheep. Not only that but we are like sheep that have gone astray. Sheep are not hard to train to follow a shepherd. Sheep have a pecking order. The “boss” will establish himself and the sheep will follow the leader. The shepherd spends time with his sheep and they get to know him and his voice and they will follow him. Sheep are fairly trusting.
We had sheep for a while. We bought them from a person who had them roaming on an 80 acre piece of property. They had quite a bit of room. We bought them and put them into about a 10 acre fenced area. Those sheep were not used to being kept in such a small area and the “boss” was always trying the fence to see if he could break out.
We also had a dairy at the same time and we milked at around 5:30 in the morning. It was the first thing we did when we got outside. One morning as we were milking the cows a vehicle drove into our yard. I did not recognize the person but they asked if we had sheep. I told them we did. He said he believed our sheep were a couple of miles down the road in a ditch. They were not on the road and they were not causing trouble, but they were not at home either.
I checked our pasture and sure enough our sheep were not there. We finished milking and then got into our truck with a pail of grain and headed for the direction of the sheep. We found them all together grazing in a ditch. It was not that they did not have feed at home. They just wanted more territory to cover. I let my wife drive the truck and I got out with my pail of feed and called the sheep. It did not take much to get them to come to me and they followed me all the way home. It was not a problem handling them. However, they had gone astray. After that incident, I ran an electric fence wire about 1 foot off the ground all around that pen and they soon discovered that wire and they stayed home after that. They just needed proper control.
Our text tells us that “all we like sheep have gone astray”.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
We have all been born with the same sinful nature that Adam obtained when he disobeyed God’s clear command to him. We have all gone astray.
We see further in our text that we have turned every one to his own way. Unlike the four legged sheep, we do not stick together. We have a similar trait in that we are easily led, but we do not all follow the same “boss”.
Just yesterday there was a report of a person who decided to shoot at a crowd of people in a New York Subway area. A total of 29 people were injured. Ten people were shot and the others were injured, probably as they tried to get out of the way. That person is a sheep who is following a “boss” of some type. Certainly he is following the devil, who is a murderer from the beginning. There are others who are also following the devil but do not express themselves in the same manner as this person did.
Jesus tells us that His children are sheep as well.
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
As sheep, we all follow a leader. There are some people who believe they are in charge and they do not follow anyone. They are deluded. They are following the devil and they do not want to admit it. Those who are saved become part of Jesus’ flock. We grow familiar with His voice and we respect His voice and we follow Him. We hear Jesus’ voice through His written Word. We do not hear an audible voice, but reading God’s Word is like hearing His voice.
II Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Jesus knows those that are His sheep. He cares for each one. That does not mean we never go astray. The difference is that we have the good Shepherd who will take the time to reach out to His wayward sheep and bring that sheep back to where they need to be.
King David was directed by God to write Psalm 23, which describes the good Shepherd and how He looks after His sheep. It is a blessing to be in His fold. His fold is never over full. There is room for many more in His fold.
The important factor is for His sheep to understand that He is the good Shepherd.
Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
The local pastor is also a shepherd, but he is not the Great Shepherd. The pastor needs to be under the Great Shepherd and he needs to lead the sheep in the way of the Great Shepherd. God expects His sheep to know the voice of the Shepherd. God’s Word should be the final authority for every true child of God.
In our text, God tells us further that He laid our iniquities on His sacrifice — Jesus Christ. It is a blessing to have our sins forgiven. It is a blessing to know God’s peace in our hearts. The greatest news that any person can ever receive is the forgiveness of sins through repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. That is the greatest need that man has. How sad that so many are like the lost sheep who has gone astray. Most never turn to the loving Shepherd Who would want to grant forgiveness to the lost sheep. Jesus did not come secretly to this earth at His first coming. His birth was prophesied in the Old Testament. It was announced by the angels when it happened. It was also announced by the wise men as they came seeking the king of the Jews. As an adult, Jesus made Himself available to the nation of Israel for 3 1/2 years prior to His crucifixion. God directed different writers to record some of Jesus’ teaching in the four Gospels and then we have the rest of the New Testament which deals with different aspects of the early churches in the first century. The Epistles teach much doctrine that is applicable for every generation. God has made His truth available to all people. It is a tragedy that so few are interested in knowing the truth.
We have talked to some extent of the importance of having God’s Word. There are many perversions that are not God’s Word. For the English speaking world, the King James Version is God’s Word. Some people reject that Bible because of the “thee’s” and the “thou’s” and other words they do not understand. Studies have proven that it is easier to understand the King James Version than it is to understand the NIV.
The fact is that the Bible is God’s Word and thus It needs the work of the Holy Spirit to understand It properly. A person cannot pick up the Bible and read it like a newspaper and expect to understand it. The Holy Spirit works in the heart of the lost sheep to help him or her to see their need to turn to God in repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. The Holy Spirit works in the saved person’s life to help them to understand how to live after they are saved.
I say all of this to let the readers know that we want to spend a few days looking at the season we are in right now. Our calendars tell us that this Friday is “Good Friday” and that this coming Sunday is “Easter Sunday”. Some still hold this coming Monday as a holiday as well due to the weekend. There are several things in the layout of this weekend that do not fit with God’s Word. No one can point to Jesus Christ and suggest that He would lead His sheep in the common practice of this weekend. We also know that Jesus Christ came to fulfil the Old Testament law and thus His crucifixion fulfilled and replaced the Old Testament Lamb and that entire Passover event.
I Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
New Testament Christians are commanded to remember Jesus’ death until He come by way of the Lord’s Supper. There is no set time given as to how often we keep this remembrance. God directed the apostle Paul to write: “as oft as ye do this”. There are some requirements as to who can participate in this important remembrance, but as to the frequency of it, God has left that for the local church to determine.
We want to look at God’s Word and seek to let the Great Shepherd guide us in this important study. That needs to be the case with all of God’s Word.