Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd.”
The life of a shepherd in the ancient world was dirty, hard, and dangerous. Their work placed them on the margins of society. They were often youngest sons, unlikely to inherit land or livestock. So imagining God as a shepherd places Him among those whose significance society disregards.
And what about sheep? An article in Psychology Today reports findings from a study of sheep, challenging stereotypes of them as docile, obedient, and possessing little individuality: Sheep do care about their own lives and how they are treated and respond to similar situations in similar ways to humans. Nothing we’ve learned about sheep gives us a free pass to mistreat them based on myths about their “mindlessness.” They are intelligent, complex, and feeling individuals.