“What man you, having a hundred sheep, if loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?» (Luke 1 5:4)
The most powerful instinct sheep have is that of flocking together. Despite their differences, they all have strong ties to the flock. Even when they are scattered while grazing quietly in the field, they quickly regroup in the face of the slightest sign of danger. In fact, they do not need to be exactly sure that there is danger; the movement of the other sheep is enough for them to mimic their behavior. In the Turkish community of Gevas, in the east of the country, about fifteen hundred sheep threw themselves from a fifty-foot cliff because one of them jumped first. Eventually, four hundred fifty died and the others managed to save their lives because of the cushioning provided by those that jumped first. Wear talking about animals without individual initiative, naturally following the wiser ones (such as the mother, an older sheep or a ram), but they may also instinctively follow any sheep who makes a sudden movement.
Sheep need the presence of a group so badly that experts in animal behavior recommend having no less than five sheep in a flock in order to expect a
reasonable stress level. When they are alone or in a very small group, they do not see other sheep in their visual field and the stress can affect their health.
These factors however, turn out to be beneficial for herd management. Their peaceful and gentle nature and their willingness to stay together makes it possible for even a child with a trained dog to herd a large flock. The problem occurs when one of them gets lost or moves away when it feels sick and ends up getting lost. Without the presence of the shepherd or the group, the lost sheep can be overwhelmed with fear and terror. It can panic and become paralyzed and could be exposed to all sorts of dangers before being discovered and brought back to the safety of the flock.
In this context, we can understand the magnificent story found in today’s Bible text. Maybe you have felt lost and frightened, or have felt your self-esteem hit rock-bottom. Fear or doubt conquered your being in such a way that even simple decisions seemed very difficult to make. You will find peace knowing that Jesus, the Good Shepherd (John 10: 11), is ready to devote all His attention and power to restore your tranquility! Invite Him today to rescue you, to lead you to safety and to forever remain by your side