This was the question I began to ask myself after spending a considerable amount of time around sheep in the back-country of Israel. The Bible calls us sheep. But, if you know sheep, then you know that isn’t exactly a compliment, because sheep aren’t the brightest of the animal kingdom. An accurate naming? Well, I’ve done some pretty stupid things in my life with nobody to blame but myself! However, as I pondered the question, I came to realize that the point of the sheep analogy is not to identify our souls as stupid, but rather to highlight that our souls are desperately needy.
It’s All In The Name
When the shepherd, Moses, asked God his name, God answered him, “I AM THAT I AM!” (Ex. 3:14) Jesus, the great Shepherd of his sheep, used this intimate name of God as his own name, “before Abraham was born, I Am!” (John 8:58). The name I AM seems incomplete. I AM _________. I AM… what? The answer is that Jesus is whatever you need: I AM your provider, I AM your protection, I AM the gate, I AM your salvation, I AM your wisdom, I AM your righteousness–and the list doesn’t end. This name perfectly captures the role of the shepherd to his sheep, or put another way, the relationship of Jesus to the souls of men. We are constantly in need and Jesus is the only One that can meet our every need as the Shepherd of Our Souls.
I AM Your Shepherd
As I spent time filming shepherds and their flocks, I began to comprehend a sheep’s complete need to be led to food and water and to be protected and cared for. A shepherd himself, David profoundly understood this truth. In Psalm 23 he paints the picture of his own desperate need and the Lord’s kind, abundant provision. Like David, Jesus also understands. He is the Shepherd of our Souls, and rather than be repulsed or dismayed when we cry out to Him in our need, He delights to answer, “I AM!”