In Matthew 25:31-32 Jesus says, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” Later on in that passage, Jesus says that those on his right (sheep) will inherit the kingdom, but those on his left (goats) will be separated from him. I was intrigued that Jesus would use the terms “sheep” and “goats” to describe people. Being a city girl with limited exposure to barnyard animals, I had to do a little research in order to put this passage into context.
Dumb and fearful, sheep simply do not make good decisions. For example, they are known to eat poisonous plants, and an entire herd can easily be wiped out in a panic-stricken stampede. Sheep are totally dependent upon their shepherd for food and protection. Without him, sheep would not survive. A sheep knows the shepherd’s voice, and the shepherd knows each one of his sheep. And the shared bond between the two is so strong that the shepherd won’t hesitate to search for lost sheep, even if it’s just one.
Goats, on the other hand, do not bond with their shepherd. Stubborn, curious, and independent, goats refuse to Surrender their will. They believe they know what is best for them. They are always looking to go their own way, and when they set out, goats expect to lead, not follow, their shepherd.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd and those that have accepted him are called his sheep. According to the scripture above, we are either a sheep or a goat. So what about you – which category do you fall under? Do you walk with the shepherd like a sheep, or do you go your own way like a goat? If you’ve walked way from the Good Shepherd, return to him. Surrender. Give him permission to lead you. He deeply loves you and is ready to welcome you with unconditional forgiveness, and cover you with waves of love, mercy and grace. Let him lead you. Let him provide for you. Let him protect you. Your shepherd knows you. Do you know him?