Jesus, the Good Shepherd | Sunday Observer

Jesus, the Good Shepherd

28 March, 2021

Let us first see what the Old Testament has to say about the lamb in the first Passover;

‘Moses called for all the leaders of Israel and said to them: ‘Each of you is to choose a lamb or a young goat and kill it so that your families can celebrate Passover. Take a sprig of hyssop, dip it in the bowl containing the animals’ blood and wipe the blood on the doorposts and the beam above the door of your house.

No one of you is to leave the house until morning. When the Lord goes through Egypt to kill the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the beams and doorposts and not let the Angel of Death enter your houses and kill you. You and your children must obey these rules for ever. When you enter the Land of the Lord who has promised to give you, you must perform the ritual. When your children ask you “What does this ritual mean? you will answer, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Passover to honour the Lord because he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. He killed the Egyptians but spared us’ ... Exodus 12, 21-28....

And what the New Testament say over the Passover meal, ‘On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the day the lambs were killed, Jesus’s disciples asked him ‘Where do you want us to go and get the Passover meal ready for you?’

Then Jesus sent two of them with the instructions ‘Go into the city and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house he enters and say to the owner of the house ‘The Teacher asks. where is the room where my disciples and I will eat the Passover meal, then he will show you a large upstairs room, prepared and furnished where you will get everything ready for us’ Mark 14, 12-16.

They went off and found everything just as Jesus had told them and they prepared the Passover meal. When the hour came Jesus took his place at the table with the apostles and told them ‘I have wanted so much to eat this Passover meal with you before I suffer’. Then Jesus took a cup and gave thanks to God and said “Take this and share it among yourselves. This cup is God’s new covenant sealed with my blood which is poured out for you’. He also took a piece of bread, gave thanks, saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me’.

The Bible clearly says in both Testaments about meals being served with lamb which had been the custom from Moses’s time but it never says that Jesus ate lamb meat at the Passover meal. He only had bread and wine, which he served the disciples with.

‘The lamb of God that take away the sins of the world’ How many times each Sunday throughout our lives would we have chanted this phrase? Naturally, without pausing to think of its deep meaning, but go on eating the flesh of the lamb, relishing, serving it with pride at weddings, events and other functions, some which are associated with the church.

Have you ever felt guilty? Evaluate the significance the lamb has over our faith. I do not feel bad about it because I do not eat any kind of flesh but I feel guilty why I had to wait this long to question my fellow Christians. Why we should not spare the lamb? We all owe it to our Lord, Jesus Christ on whose lap and arms he carried the symbol of love, innocence and purity, how dare we usurp its significance. Some may argue that the Lord never said so and or such not found in the Holy Bible and will find an excuse to continue to consume lamb. May be one need not find it in the scriptures.

God has given us the wisdom to use our heads wisely and with compassion. The good shepherd that he is, we always see Jesus cuddling a lamb gently in his arms with so much love in his eyes (No, I do not get carried away by paintings). If it is symbolic or otherwise, we must know that the lamb plays a significant role of influence and we must look differently and confine the purity of the lamb to Jesus and revere the tenderness he showers on it by refraining the slaughter of this innocent young adult. Look at the role of Jesus as the Shepherd.

The parable of the Shepherd

Jesus said, ‘I am telling you the truth, the man who does not enter the Shepherd by the gate but climb in other way is a thief and a robber. The man who goes in through the gate is the Shepherd of the sheep.

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him and the sheep hear his voice as he calls his own sheep by the name and he leads them out, he goes ahead of them and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow someone else, instead they will run away from such a person because they do not know his voice’ Jesus told them this parable but they did not understand what he meant. John 10, 1-7

But we are blessed more than them because we understand what Jesus meant in the parable because we have traveled through long passages of time where our mind’s reasoning has improved better enough to what the Lord meant.

Revelation 7 also refers to the lamb. This time the reference is to God which clearly says that those who stood before God and who went through for safety and had washed their robes and made them white with the blood of lamb. Here, the blood is very symbolic in its power for the reason it is not the blood we imagine as one cannot wash with blood for it to look white. It is the power of the lamb which God and Jesus takes on the role of the Shepherd, the protector of the lamb. Do you still want to eat lamb?

Every preacher will express his own version in the church which we must not grab for eloquence or emotion. In John 9, Jesus says, ‘I am the Good Shepherd who is willing to die for the sheep’ True enough the ‘sheep’ here means his people but he uses the word sheep to illustrate his feelings and because in his eyes he sees the humility of the animal. If so, do you ever think that our Lord would ever consumed its flesh?

We believe that Jesus is the promised Saviour, the Son of God and through our faith in him, we shall have eternal life.

We know Jesus as the great Teacher who has the authority to interpret the Law of God and who teaches about the Kingdom of God. His teaching about the end of it perhaps the world being destroyed by fire.

But for the moment, we Christians must obey his word, recall Jesus’s journey from Galilee to Jerusalem and the events of his last week that culminates in his crucifixion and resurrection. We must be ready for his call as he has said, ‘I shall come like a thief when you are asleep].