All through Scripture, mankind is likened to sheep. Here Isaiah is talking about the elect of God. He compares mankind to sheep here, not for their good qualities, but for their stupidity and foolishness, their tendency is to go away from their shepherd. God, as their shepherd is the One who cares for them and brings them back, by His powerful grace.
At some stage we need to recognise that we have gone astray and return back to our Shepherd and Creator, the One who cares for us. The hardest part is recognising that we have gone astray or are going astray. One of the problems is, like sheep, we tend to follow others, even when it may not be a good idea. There was a case, in 2006, in eastern Turkey, where four hundred sheep plunged to their death after one of the sheep tried to cross a 15 metre deep ravine, and the rest of the flock followed.
We may need to ask ourselves, “Who are we following, Jesus, or the world’s ways?” Jesus has paid the price for our straying (sins), and God laid the punishment for them on His shoulders. Jesus became our sacrificial lamb, not a silly sheep, but He gave His life for us so that the penalty for our sins and our wandering is paid for. However, we need to repent and turn back to the Shepherd and acknowledge our need for Him. He suffered for us and took all the pain and judgement that we deserved. I do not think we will ever understand the depth of the pain and separation from His Father that He took for us. Jesus did not complain. He went as a lamb to the slaughter, a lamb paying the ultimate sacrifice for the sheep.
As Jesus took the shame and pain of the cross, can we imagine every sin that was committed being laid on him? Only Jesus could bear it. I believe we couldn’t bear the punishment for our own sin, let alone the sins of the whole world! Then, because He bore the guilt, shame and punishment of our sins, He was separated from His Father, that was probably more agonising than the pain of the sins.
As He was dying on the cross, Jesus chose to forgive those who pierced Him. He was still thinking of others as He hung there dying. He was interceding for us. His life was a sacrifice for us. I think it is good that we are reminded of all He chose to go through for us and not take lightly that He has purchased for us a place in heaven, when we truly believe and trust in Him. Let us examine our own lives and hearts and turn back to the Good Shepherd.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for sacrificing Your own Son for our sins. I want to acknowledge my wanderings and sinful ways and turn back to You. Help me to recognise the price that Jesus paid for me, so that I can live for Him and not myself. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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