Sheep in the Bible
The NT is packed with sheep & lamb analogies. “Lamb of God” is the biggest group, then there are separating sheep for goats and then saving lost sheep. Here are some verse about how Jesus treats sheep and lambs:
- Luke 15:3-7: Jesus rejoices over found sheep
- John 10 : Jesus is the Good Shepard
- John 21:15: Feed my lambs
- Matthew 18:12-13: 1 out of 100 sheep lost
My New Gospel
I have recently been thinking about how fun it would be to write a new, ‘better’ Gospel, kind of like St. Luke did (see Luke 1:1-4). My Gospel would match the story of Jesus that my everyday, theologically-naive Christian friends understand — where Jesus is simply a sweet, loving guy. And as a perfect illustration for my Jesus-is-Love gospel I would put a picture of Jesus with a lamb and children on the cover. Now I am not sure if this image is really based on any Gospel story, but that doesn’t matter, because the gospel in my cafeteria-Christian friends’ heads is merely an amalgam of art, movies, and bits-and-pieces of other gospels. I think this is the gospel believed by most Christians.
As for the name of my gospel, like other gospel forgers, I should probably name my gospel after a disciple in order to give it the appearance of authority but I think all twelve names have already been used in various gospels. I certainly can’t just call my better gospel “The Gospel According to Sabio’s Nominal Christian Buddies”. Any thoughts?
Buddha and Sheep
Lamb is my favorite meat. And I imagine Jesus had no problem eating that cute lamb — another inconvenient fact about Jesus that I’d have to leave that out of my gospel. But today I felt a little guilty when I ran into the picture above of the Siddhartha (the Buddha-to-be) with a Lamb — for he certainly would not eat the little fella. But more than that disappointment, I was amazed at how similar this image appeared to the image of Jesus with a sweet lamb. I never knew that Buddhism capitalized on cute baby lambs too.
This Buddhist lamb story is about Siddartha (before his enlightenment) saving the lamb from a sacrifice – not something Jesus would have done. Do any readers know the Buddhist source of this story? If you want to read the story I copied it below from a great site called BuddhaNet. Click “continue reader” to see it.
24. After his meal, Siddhartha decided to go to the mountains where many hermits (people who live alone) and sages (wise people) lived. On the way there, he came across a flock of sheep. Shepherds were driving the herd to Rajagaha to be sacrificed in a fire ceremony. One little lamb was injured. Out of compassion Siddhartha picked up the lamb and followed the shepherds back to the city.
25. In the city, the fire was burning on the altar, and King Bimbisara and a group of priests were chanting hymns. They all worshipped fire. When the leader of the fire-worshippers lifted his sword to kill the first sheep, Siddhartha quickly stopped him. He asked the king not to let the worshippers destroy the lives of the poor animals. Then Siddhartha turned to the worshippers and told them: “Life is extremely precious. All living creatures want to live, just like people.”
26. He continued: “If people expect mercy, they should show mercy. By the law of cause and effect (karma), those who kill others will, in turn, be killed. If we expect happiness in the future, we must not harm any creatures. Whoever sows suffering will reap the same fruits.” This speech completely changed the king’s mind, and the minds of the fire-worshippers. He stopped the killing ceremony and invited Siddhartha to stay and teach his people. But Siddhartha declined, as he had not yet found the truth he was seeking.