We sometimes hear that sheep are stupid. This is not quite true. Sheep are in some ways quite intelligent animals. The problem is that they are desperately vulnerable animals. They are herd creatures, and cannot survive long if they become separated from their flock.
The Good Shepherd
Being dumb is a very different thing from being vulnerable. When Jesus talks about himself as being the Good Shepherd, he is certainly not implying that the sheep - us - are stupid. That would be pretty rude. Jesus is implying that we are vulnerable. Just like sheep, when we fall over, we often can’t get up again easily. We often get lost, and can’t see the way back.
So when Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd, it’s an invitation to trust him with our vulnerabilities, our failures and lack of understanding. Jesus does not want us to be self-sufficient, but to support one another, and to listen carefully for his voice speaking to us.
Where do we hear the voice of Jesus calling to us most insistently as a Cathedral?
The Very Revd Peter Bradley