One of the most touching of stories is the story of our first parents and what was done because of their sin. By example, Christ showed them what they must do. To have chosen one of the beloved sheep, who flourished under their care and protection, would now be selected to pay the cost of their sin. I don’t know about you, especially not having been raised on a farm, but I cannot imagine selecting an animal, so innocent and showing love, even either one of my precious cats, and to hold a knife under its throat and with one defined slice to cut open an artery, holding the animal who has felt betrayed, struggling against the one it loved, who loved it, until it is still. I cannot imagine such a thing today, but it was very common years ago.
One of the most honored professions was that of the shepherd. It was an awesome responsibility to care for that which would eventually be selected either for salvation or the furtherance of temporal life. All of the sheep’s career would provide the necessary material for clothing, but then that fateful day would come where its life would be given whether to sustain another day or that of an eternal day. It appears from birth, the sheep continues to give until it can give no more.
Then the day came when it was the turn of the Shepherd to give His life for His sheep.
For thousands of years the shepherd selected a sheep to represent him and now it would be the Shepherd’s turn to represent the sheep in the payment of sins and by doing this act, there would be no longer any need for the sheep to continue paying what they could not adequately pay for.
We can be grateful, today, we no longer have to choose a sheep for what we’ve done, and no longer will what we have done need a required payment, for our debt has already been paid in full. However, our responsibility does not end. While the Shepherd still continues to guide us, we in our love for our Shepherd continue to follow and accept His leading in our lives.
It is of great comfort to know we, the sheep, will never be chosen to be slaughtered and our Shepherd will never depart from us and be killed on our behalf. Why can we not continue to live happily and willingly to follow Him when He tells us, “If you love Me, keep My Commandments”? It will be a sad day for many when they learn the death He paid for us on the cross did not pay for our sins and we must pay them ourselves!
January 19, 2016