Roman citizens had the absolute assurance of safe travel to any part of the known world. All a Roman had to say when traveling was, “civis romanus sum,” and free passage was guaranteed.
The ability for people to go anywhere has been prized for centuries. In Israel, the leader was the man honored with the responsibility of leading the people out and bringing them in (Numbers 27:17).
A shepherd was charged with the responsibility of leading sheep safely to food and water. He made certain the flock could “go in and out” without fail.
Jesus said that he was “the Good Shepherd.” He proved he deserved the title by his actions. Isaiah told Israel what the Messiah would do. He would bring good news to the meek, bind up the broken-hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives and set free the imprisoned (Isaiah 61:1). Those were precisely the things Jesus did (Luke 4:18).
By contrast, the religious leaders of the Jews were more like their counterparts in Ezekiel’s day (Ezekiel 34:1-10). Instead of caring for God’s people, Ezekiel said they had eaten the flock and clothed themselves with the wool.
The Good Shepherd takes care of the sheep. They know his voice and will not follow anyone else (John 10:4-5). With him, the sheep are fed, watered and protected.
Those who took Jesus’ words to heart and believed him followed him. In his words, they heard the wisdom of the Creator (Colossians 1:15-17). What an amazing thing it must have been to hear Jesus speak. Truly, it must have been a moment people treasured, just as Solomon wrote that true wisdom was more valuable than gold or silver (Proverbs 3:13-14).
You can read the words of the Creator yourself in the pages of the New Testament. Pick up a copy and find out for yourself what it is like having a “profit better than gold.”