Last week I read the story of an incident that occurred in the Middle East just before World War II when the British were trying to bring about peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis while realigning their national borders.
To try and keep peace and protect flocks and livelihoods, the British soldiers herded all the sheep of one particular region into one big flock and they guarded and protected the sheep themselves.
A couple of weeks later a young lad came to the soldiers guarding the sheep and asked if he could have his family’s sheep back.
He explained that his family was very poor and the sheep were their only source of income.
The soldier in charge said that as much as he would like to do this, he couldn’t because he had no way of knowing which sheep belonged to the boy’s family.
The boy looked up at him but said nothing.
Then he walked over towards the flock of sheep and blew his whistle.
Within minutes several sheep came wandering out from the rest of the flock and went over to the boy.
The boy’s sheep knew the sound of his whistle and they came to him.
That is the relationship that existed between the Middle Eastern shepherd and his sheep then; and as I understand it, still today.
The sheep know and follow the voice or sound of their shepherd.
This story reminds me of the relationship the Bible says that Jesus wants us to have with Him.
Jesus said that He is our Good Shepherd, that He knows our name, He calls us by our name, He cares for and protects us, and He is even prepared to lay down His life for us.
On Good Friday we remember that Jesus actually did sacrifice His life for us.
Regardless of how insignificant we feel we are, that’s how special Jesus thinks we are.
We are so special that He knows our name, calls us by our name and cares for us.
He even gave His life for us so we can follow Him now and live with Him forever.
Pastor Allan Wain
Ceduna Lutheran Parish