"The Shepherd Who Became a Sheep"
Just as sheep cannot make themselves, neither can they lead and guide themselves. We might say that sheep cannot be the shepherd.
"Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture… He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters" (Psalm 100:3; 23:2).
In most cases, this is also true of the shepherd, that is, the shepherd cannot be the sheep. However, the Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, did enter into the fold of those He leads, provides for, and protects.
"The next day, John seeth Jesus coming to him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
As God, God the Son, the Lord Jesus has always existed. "Unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, o God is forever and ever" (Hebrews 1:8). He has not always been human, of course. In obedience to His Father and for our sake, however, the Savior enrobed Himself with our humanity. "Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh!" (I Timothy 3:16). The Shepherd became a sheep. Moreover, He forever retains His humanity without relinquishing His divinity. "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 2:5). Thus, the Divine Lord who directly governs our lives executes His office as a man. He identifies completely with us, having lived an earthly lifetime, and having been challenged in more ways than any other human being will ever experience - "in all points tempted like as we are" (Hebrews 4:15). He leads us in both the perfection of godly wisdom, and the involvement of human experience. Our Shepherd knows the paths of the sheep, which are marked by the steps He took for the flock, as a member of the flock.
Of course, our Shepherd's participation involved far more than mere identification. He took upon Himself our nature for the primary purpose of serving as the Lamb to be slaughtered and offered for the atonement of our sins. "Ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:18-19). "The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep" declared the Lord Jesus (John 10:11). Wondrously, He also gave His life as a sheep. This is the Gospel, this is salvation, and this is the Savior far more glorious than even eternity will fully unveil. Good Shepherd? Oh yes, good beyond all imagining, as revealed by the condescension that made Him God's sacrificial Lamb. Little wonder that the adoring throngs of Revelation respond in the only possible manner regarding the Shepherd who became a sheep…
"And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing! And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever! And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped Him that liveth forever and ever."
Weekly Memory Verse
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
(I Peter 4:10)