Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Good Shepherd Breaks Their Legs



I had no idea that the average Catholic didn't know the story behind the pictures of Jesus carrying the lamb on His shoulders. My friend Robyn thought it was Jesus' way of carrying us when we couldn't make it up the hill, or over the river by ourselves. I stared at her. I thought for a minute about NOT explaining the Good Shepherd's role in the discipline of His sheep, but then said to myself I would be doing her a grave disservice not to explain it. So, here you go - this is for all those sweet and wonderful Catholics like Robyn who made it to Mass but skipped out on Sunday School.

For centuries shepherds have been herding sheep. Face it, no one likes to carry a load of weight around their shoulders for too long, and so it may seem that the Good Shepherd is picking up a little lamb and hoisting it over His shoulders to help it make it over to the greener pasture, perhaps the little baa-baa is just tired or fatigued and simply needs that extra gentle touch....not the way it works. I pick Faith up sometimes and carry her 27 pound body around, but not for long. A shepherd's role in the life of his sheep is not only to guard them, prod them, and get them onto the right path and in the right direction. Occasionally there is a need for discipline as well. When an animal that is suppose to be doing what it is suppose to be doing is told over and over again, shown, lovingly shown, forcibly shown, and it still refuses to do what it is suppose to do, the shepherd has two choices: he can either kill the little guy or break its leg to render it unable to continue disobeying him.

Now, almost IMMEDIATELY after the leg is broken the sheep gets the message that the shepherd (or in Jesus' case capital S with Shepherd)is serious about the direction or the commandment given. It doesn't take too long for the waywardness to subside and the dependency upon the Shepherd to take place. Then, and only then, does the Good Shepherd pick up the broken lamb and place it over His shoulders to carry it for a matter of a long time and an enduring lesson, which over a course of weeks, and usually close intimate conversation and discussion from His mouth to the lamb's ears, will the lamb be strong enough to walk on its own again. Breaking the animal's leg is better than the alternative. Guess how many actual shepherds take the time to do that? They feast on mutton rather than make the effort when they have too many other obedient sheep walking correctly.

No...no thank you...I don't want to be that little fluffy sheep on Jesus' shoulders. I'm content to being one of the first sheep in line - keeping pace, doing exactly what I'm suppose to be doing. Every once in a while I may glance back to be sure I'm not missing the signal, after all I know how GOOD the Good Shepherd is! Walk with Him long enough and He knows that I know that He knows I'm going to do what I'm told. When I pray I pray with rocks in my hand and one thing I try to do often is remember to praise my Jesus. The same Bible that shares the stories of many shepherds also tells me that the rocks will call out His name if I forget. I don't ever want to hear my rocks talking! I don't mind if they praise WITH me, but I don't ever want them to praise without me.

I guess what I'm saying is - - if you have been guided, told, shown, and commanded to do something by Jesus; do yourself a favor and keep your legs healthy...arms too I guess, get in line! He's never going to tell you to do something you aren't suppose to be doing, just maybe something you weren't planning on doing. I know that feeling. Been there still doing it. No, no, I'm not complaining....just doing it, and looking back to be sure I'm still with the pack! Baaaa-baaaa-baaaa

6 comments:

Hope Meadow Farm said...

Wow. What powerful imagery. I'm a new sheperdess. I'm sure glad that Jesus has more patience with us than we could ever, ever have for any of our sheep or the people in our lives. Do you know Jesus personally?

jude said...

Hey Hope Meadow Farm - yes, I do know Jesus personally. I'm 47 now, I was raised in a Christian home and became a Christian myself very early at the age of 6. Throughout the years I rededicated my life to Him and feel that I really do owe Him absolutely everything. It hasn't been the easiest life for me so letting Him have everything rather than fighting about it has been the best peace-making decision I could ever think of. I just don't worry anymore. My son is Iraq, I don't worry about it. I was poor and couldn't pay bills - didn't worry, and got the best job in the world. I needed my books to sell and they have. I'm telling you, letting God handle things just makes so much more sense! Thanks for asking. Love those sheepies!!

MI Christmas In July said...

Really enjoyed your post - can you tell me where in the Bible I can read the story of the Shepherd breaking the leg of the lamb? Thank you - Debbie

Ray said...

Great Blog! My legs have been broken and now I dont leave His heels. Praise Him!!

-www.warhorseforchrist.com

mostly young said...

and it is just that a myth. Larger animals do not heal well from broken legs - it's pretty well a death sentence. You post is well written and I see you have a very positive message to spread but the idea of a actual shepherd breaking the legs of an animal on purpose is just not borne out in reality.

Sheri Southern said...

[3] Then Jesus told them this parable: [4] "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? [5] And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders [6] and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' [7] I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.