The image [of the shepherd in Ephesians 4:11] is vague; its OT and pre-OT usage would suggest that primary emphasis would lie on shepherds as those who led…, provided and protected those in their care.
- leading: This is an obvious statement, but leading requires that the shepherd first go where he wants the flock to go. A second and equally important requirement is that the flock must know the shepherd and must find his leadership trustworthy.
- providing: The largest portion of this task is getting food and sheep together. Actually feeding the sheep is unnecessary, except for the young and the sick. if the sheep are not feeding themselves, something is horribly wrong with the flock.
- protecting: The flock lives in constant danger of illness, attack, or foolishness. The shepherd protects the flock by seeing to its general health, by fighting off enemies, and by caring for the injured and sick.
- How much, if any, of this metaphor carries over into eternity?
- Either way, what is the significance for how we behave now?