SGBC Modesto

Scattered Sheep

March 28, 2024 by

William Heinrich

Jesus quotes Zechariah when He says in Matthew 26:31, “Strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will scatter.” This happened when Jesus was crucified. His followers fled and hid in fear. Three days later Jesus rose from the dead and soon gathered His scattered flock around Him.

The average under-shepherd leaves his church approximately every four years. Each time it happens the prophecy of Zechariah 37:7 is fulfilled. Sheep are scattered. In the case of Jesus, He returned to regather His sheep. In the case of thousands of pastors, they move to the next pastorate in another town. Sheep that are scattered often remain scattered. Some eventually bond to a new shepherd. Some grow bitter, saying, “They kicked out my pastor and I’ll never go to church again,” or “The church is full of hypocrites.”

People (sheep) who are well bonded to the Chief Shepherd can and do weather an assault against their shepherd. Yet the young lambs do not, and great damage is done to them. Every flock has at least three kinds of sheep. Those who don’t feel they need a shepherd and seek to find his faults, rather than submit to his shepherding. Those who are submissive to their shepherd because of their love of the Chief Shepherd and know this is His will for them. Lastly, those who are perhaps more bonded to the shepherd than they are the Chief Shepherd. They are those who are grateful for their shepherd showing them the Chief Shepherd. They are, through love and the teaching of Scripture, becoming eternally bonded to the Chief Shepherd. This last group are the ones who are harmed the most when their shepherd is struck. They are the ones scattered. They are the ones who are most likely to become bitter.

Great care and much prayer is needed when sheep are being scattered. We cannot turn our back on this grave problem. We cannot coldly comment, “They are just followers of a man and not Jesus.” To strike a shepherd brings serious consequences, both to him and his family, and to his sheep. It should be avoided if at all possible. When it is necessary, it must be done with great love and care. After the shepherd is forced to leave his flock, personal and individual care must be given to all of the sheep, especially the third group mentioned above. A flock left without a shepherd may go months and sometimes years before he is replaced. Visiting speakers are never able to meet the needs of shepherding. By the time a new shepherd is found, far too many sheep are scarred for life. God’s people must not let the trauma of this time in the life of Christ’s Church allow them to ignore the danger to the scattered sheep.