What's with the Pig?
The Courtyard is one of our favorite features at Good Shepherd. But if you look closely, Jesus is holding a Lamb, but there is also a PIG at His feet.
WHY THE PIG?
It is a question we often get as visitors first notice the statue of Jesus the Good Shepherd in our Courtyard and then do a double-take when they see the pig. Many are used to seeing pictures of Jesus with a lamb in his arms, images which call to mind his own story of the shepherd who, leaving the ninety-nine sheep, goes out searching for the one that is lost until he finds it (Luke 15:3-7).
But a pig? The pig in our statue is an illustration of God’s desire to include the whole world in the plan of salvation, a salvation which Jesus the Good Shepherd makes possible through his life, death and resurrection. The lamb in the Gospels generally points to the Jews or to Israel.
Jesus came first to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). The pig, on the other hand, symbolizes the Gentile world, which the Jews considered “unclean” and outside of God’s plan of salvation. That the apostles themselves early on struggled with the inclusion of the Gentiles can be seen in Acts, especially in chapter 10, where God makes clear to Peter that the work of salvation is intended for all people, Jew and Gentile alike.
In chapter 15 of Luke’s gospel account, Jesus tells the story of the “Lost Sheep” because some of the religious leaders of his day were grumbling about his fellowship with “tax collectors and sinners.” Yet Jesus points out in the stories that follow how all of heaven rejoices when “outsiders” become “insiders,” and those who are lost are found – Jews, Gentiles, lambs, and pigs alike. If you are searching for meaning and purpose in your life, if you are seeking a closer relationship with God, or if you just have found yourself feeling like someone on the “outside” lately, we invite you to join us for worship on Sunday.
Come as you are, and know that you are welcome!
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1489 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 • 757-428-4052