The third chapter of the book Echoes of His Presence is about shepherding.
“Lead the sheep along the path you want them to follow… don’t walk on one path while they’re on another. Keep a straight path between you and the sheep. If you don’t, they’ll wander off the edge or into danger.”
The market for sheep was located near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem at the Temple. Dishonest dealers had expanded the Temple market into the Court of the Gentiles.
“They have taken away the Gentiles’ place of prayer.”
Sheep are trusting:
“I could lead them anywhere and they would follow my voice.”
“…a good shepherd dropped back among the sheep, walking with them down into the valley shadows… they need to see you, to feel you with them… they must hear your voice.”
Shepherds don’t drive sheep they lead them.
“From one moment to the next, the sheep depend on the leading of the shepherd and the sufficiency of the grazing he provides.”
We, like sheep, must trust our shepherd for sufficiency in the moment.
“Not one of us knows for sure that we have what it takes to deal with what will happen to us a few days from now (or even a few minutes from now) anymore than the sheep have the grass to satisfy the hunger of tomorrow… all we have is what’s sufficient for this moment.”
And when it gets dark and life gets scary or we face pain or suffering:
“…the shepherd drops back and walks with them.”
“Jesus, our Passover Lamb, born among the flocks of Bethlehem and visited by the Bethlehem shepherds, understands well what it means to be a strong, faithful shepherd.”
Ray Vanderlaan does a phenomenal job bringing the first century in Palestine to life for a modern reader in Echoes of His Presence. He also brings a depth of understanding of the Scriptures as to how Jesus would have understood Jesus.