Login / Signup

Free Access

Not a subscriber?
Get a FREE 30-Day Subscription
(No credit card necessary)
Get Full Access Now!


Learning From the Lizard
Bible Animal Object Lessons
Follow The Leader

For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. ... I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak ... I will feed them with justice (Ezekiel 34:11, 15-16 NRSV).

More than any other animal the word sheep or words that refer to sheep are used over 500 times in the Bible. Sheep are the most important animal in the Bible, and the main measure of prosperity. They were a medium of exchange. One reference (2 Kings 8:4) tells that the King of Moab paid 100,000 lambs and the same number of rams as tribute to the King of Israel.

Sheep were central to the sacrificial system of the Old Testament Jewish community. The Passover was first established in Egypt, so that the death angel sent to kill the first born would pass over any home marked with the blood of a lamb (Exodus 12:21-28). Later Jesus fits into this powerful symbolism as, "the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

Being the most valuable and available animals to sacrifice, sheep were sometimes sacrificed in great numbers. First Kings 8:63 states that 120,000 sheep were sacrificed at the time of the dedication of the Temple.

Besides being a major food supply the milk of sheep could be used for drinking, cheese, and butter. Wool was the major material for clothing. Wool was the major tent making material. Rams' skins dyed red were used as the covering for the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:5).

Perhaps the most cherished passage of scripture in the whole Bible, Psalm 23, is a reminder of how the personal care of sheep was a part of everyday life. That passage and the Parable of the Sheep, as told by Jesus in John 10, remind us of the wonderful relation God wants with all humanity. He gives us individual attention; he calls us by name; when needed he will carry us in his arms; and he is willing to give his life for the sheep. Instead of driving the sheep, the shepherd would lead them, and they would follow. For the night a place of protection is found and if needed the shepherd himself served as a gate or door, lying down at the opening where they entered, so they would not stray and no enemy could enter in to destroy them.

Sheep are known to be animals that can easily stray and get lost. Grazing with heads down, they may stray away from the herd. In this way also they are typical of humanity. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way ..." (Isaiah 53:6 NRSV). Other passages talk about the shepherd going in search of the one lost sheep.

Lessons From The Sheep
Follow the leader. The Good Shepherd goes before us. He calls us by name. We need to be able to say, "Where he leads me I will follow." The path is not always easy, but even in the valley of the shadow of death, he is with us!

Be as a shepherd for others. The verse from Ezekiel at the beginning of this meditation speaks of God as a shepherd caring for all needs. We need to join our Lord in helping, healing, and seeking the lost.

Dear Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd. You lead us in the paths of righteousness, you deliver us from evil, and you search for us when we go astray. Continue to be our Good Shepherd we pray. When those around us are living and acting like lost sheep, give us the strength and courage to find you as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Help us to guide them to you.

Forgive us for those times when we have gone astray. Thank you for being willing to welcome us back into the fold of your love and care. We pray in the name of the Lamb of God, who takes away our sins and the sins of the whole world. Amen.

New & Featured This Week

The Immediate Word

Mary Austin
Christopher Keating
Dean Feldmeyer
Ron Love
George Reed
The final Sunday of the church year -- known as Christ the King Sunday -- celebrates the Reign of Christ in the world and our station as his loyal subjects and sheep. But as team member Mary Austin points out in the next installment of The Immediate Word, that imagery seems rather quaint in a modern world that has little experience with either kings or shepherds.


Peter Andrew Smith
John Fitzgerald
"I Was A Prisoner" by Peter Andrew Smith
"Thanksgiving and Advent" by John Fitzgerald

I Was A Prisoner
by Peter Andrew Smith
Matthew 25:31-46

The prison door slammed shut behind Gary. His heart raced as he stepped forward to the guard standing behind the security glass.

“You have your papers and identification?” the guard asked.

Gary slid them forward and watched the guard looked them over carefully and check his identification against the computer.


Arley K. Fadness
“...come you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you...” (v. 34b)

Good morning girls and boys,

It's so good to see you this morning. I hope you are fine. Let's see a great big smile. (children smile broadly) Now let's give God a big smile. (motion towards the cross and so on)

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Bill Thomas
Frank Ramirez
Bonnie Bates
Bob Ove
Mark Ellingsen
Ron Love
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
David Coffin
Reign of Christ or Christ the King Sunday lends itself to the narration of stories as to how people experience God and God’s kingdom breaking into our world. Karen D. Scheib’s book titled Pastoral Care: Telling Stories of our Lives (Abingdon Press, 2016) makes some practical sense. “Narrative identity provides a means to hold together our various beliefs, hopes, dreams, and roles in a coherent way.

The Village Shepherd

Janice B. Scott
I used to know a man who claimed to be able to make himself invisible. I regarded his claim as complete nonsense, until I saw him in the bank several weeks later. Or rather, almost failed to see him! I was impatiently waiting in a queue to be served, but he stood at the counter so quietly and so still that he almost melted into the background. If I hadn't known him, I don't think I would have noticed him.


James L. Killen, Jr.
The church calendar says that this is the day on which we celebrate the festival of Christ the King. That makes this a very important day. The idea of the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of Christ, is one of the most important biblical and theological explanations of the meaning of the Christian faith. It probably represents the very heart of Jesus' own teachings.

Special Occasion