Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sheep and Goats

In the profession of a Sheepherder of the first century, (not to omit any other generation, except for the lack of certainty.) a shepherd would often heard goats as well as sheep. This meant the shepherd would lead and defend goats and sheep with the same willingness. However, just ask any shepherd, the goat is much more independent and selfish than the community of sheep sharing the fields with them. But somehow, the sheep have a natural understanding of the importance of community.

Certainly, if faced with a pack of wolves, the goat will welcome the protection of a Shepherd. However, as soon as the threat is gone, the goat will resume the usual expression of individuality. It is with a fight between the Shepherd and goat that the Shepherd will care for and lead his charge of goats.


31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

In Matthew 25:31-33, Jesus discusses the Day of Judgment and likens persons of all nations as sheep and goats having been separated by a shepherd. In verse 33, note where the sheep are placed. To be placed to the right hand of someone of importance is to be in the place of honor.

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'


Here is where we see the importance of community to the Lord. Jesus uses this phrase, “… least of these brothers of mine”. Two ideas are introduced here by the uses of the words ‘least’ and ‘brothers’. By using the word "least", I believe Jesus is referring to those who have not come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The use of the word ‘brothers’ indicates God’s intent for His human creation, to be family. So, what we need to be aware of as Christians is our kindness toward all people at any random meeting or opportunity to help. This is how we show ourselves to belong to The Family of God, by our love for even the ‘least’ of the ‘brothers’ of Jesus. (I feel it must be said, with out faith in Christ, our works are as filthy rags)

And for those on his left, described as goats, look at the judgment they receive. No explanation needed other than to read what is left of this passage.

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

8 comments:

thekingpin68 said...

This meant the shepherd would lead and defend goats and sheep with the same willingness. However, just ask any shepherd, the goat is much more independent and selfish than the community of sheep sharing the fields with them. But somehow, the sheep have a natural understanding of the importance of community.

Certainly, if faced with a pack of wolves, the goat will welcome the protection of a Shepherd. However, as soon as the threat is over, the goat will resume the usual expression of individuality. It is with a fight that the Shepherd will care for and lead his charge of goats.


Our senior pastor often states that he and the church elders are the shepherds protecting the sheep from the wolves.

In our Western society, private Christianity is rampant.

Most Christians are not strong and blessed enough to individually maintain spiritual and theological positions against error.

There is a need for Christian community.

jeleasure said...

Thanks for the comment Russ.

Angela said...

Baaaa!

Angela said...

Just kidding! So God spoke to you, also? It is a very cool thing to look back on, especially in times where I feel sucked down into stuff that is going on around me. The God of the universe took time to speak to me, out loud. (and to you, too!) I like this gift way better than being able to see stuff as some people I know have. Not as scary! God is very to the point, isn't He? He doesn't waste words..except if you ask him to repeat himself like I did..whoops..

preacherman said...

Great thoughts on this subject.
I really enjoy what you have on your mind.
Your blog is definately one of my favs.

Vicki said...

I never thought about the nasty nature of goats. Who wants to be around them! And yet, The Good Shepherd gently tries to lead them along.

It's important to see what happens to the humbans who are the goat. We have a choice to behave like sheep or like goats.

Our family said...
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Our family said...

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