Went to church yesterday and the pastor/minister gave a speech about the historical context of Sheep so we can better understand Jesus' metaphor of the Good Shepherd.
Important Things to Note:
1. A sheep being "cast" means a sheep that has fallen over. 100% of all cast sheep Die unless their shepherd rolls them back over.
2. Sheep from the beginning have been domesticated animals with NO survival instincts making them one of the few animals entirely dependent upon humans for protection and survival.
3. People in many countries and cultures throughout history have been equally dependent upon sheep for food and clothing.
4. Shepherd in Jesus' time would name every sheep and be able to recognize each one -like modern day people do with pet dogs.
5. The Sheep/Shepherd metaphor is used over 200 times in the Bible because it was one of the most commonly understood references to make.
6. Sheep would spend all day with their shepherd, now him by voice, and follow him everywhere.
7. Before Jesus time there were as many as 10,000 people ongoingly claiming to be the Messiah or a false prophet. They would gain followed who would then be killed off and martyred and they would die as well with no miracles being performed. These are the "thieves" and the "wolves" Jesus refers to.
8. Shepherds were willing to defend their sheep from any kind of harm of wild animal -putting their own lives at risk for the safety of the sheep.
Thoughts on Animals + Domestication:
I was actually talking with my sister on Saturday (before Sunday's trip to church) about dogs and cats.
Cats think that ALL humans, but particularly the ones they live with, are essentially their "Mommy Cat". This is why they rub up against you, seek you to give them food, and follow you around. Instinctually they are in a perpetual state of "childhood" thinking that they are still young and being looked after by their mother.
Dogs in turn are similar. They maintain their "childhood" mentality for the most part, instincts become obsolete, and they see humans as "pack leaders" and parents.
Because these animals in particular are domesticated, they carry about them a kind of innocence. Most people acknowledge kittens and puppies are innocent creatures. Some wild animals on the other hand are less seemingly innocent -like sharks for example.
This got me thinking: Humans have become Greatly domesticated as a species. We were out in the wild fending for ourselves ruthlessly but now since modern life has gotten simpler and our animal instincts have fallen away more people in general find themselves far more capable of maintaining a state of innocence and child-like habit of seeking love and friendship above next to anything else.