One of the duties of a shepherd is to prevent wayward sheep from wandering away on their own. And Jesus often used the imagery of sheep-and-shepherd in His teachings. One of His best known parables is the “Parable of the Lost Sheep.” And again and again He described Himself to His followers (His flock) as the “Good Shepherd.”
Any shepherd will tell you that a sheep doesn’t separate itself from the flock and get lost as an act of defiance of the shepherd’s authority. A sheep doesn’t “decide” to stop following the shepherd. Rather, it just wanders along, “heedless of danger, seeing one tuft of grass over there that looks better than this tuft right here, never looking up to see where it is going, and finally ending up on some precipitous mountain ledge or in some menacing swamp where it never in the world intended to be.” An experienced shepherd was asked how it was that sheep tend to stray away and get…
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