We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
If you’ve moved in Christian circles for any length of time, you are probably familiar with the many parallels between the Christian and the sheep: stubborn aversion to anything risky, desire to move with the group, easily lost, etc.
In reading this passage, I take the first two lines to heart, so much so that I demonstrate my own sheep-likeness yet again.
I read: “All we like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.”
I think: Oh yes, I can understand that. I know I’ve sinned—oh, I am so sheeplike, so stupid! Self-beration feels natural, almost holy, so I continue to dwell on my shortcomings and wallow in guilt.
But we must urge each other to remember the most important part of this passage: “the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Yes, we were once hopelessly lost, walking in darkness far worse than a sheep’s nearsightedness. Christ entered our darkness, promising the fullest life (John 10:10), assuring us that he would pay the cost of giving us that life (John 8:34-36, 3:15).
Our first iniquity was rebellion against our creator. But in Paul’s words, thanks be to God! We have been delivered; we have been found. We have been justified once—for all time—because the Lamb bore the sins of his flock.