Saved by a Sheep

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Once there was a ship, the Boyne, which anchored at sea near the city of Portsmouth. One day the people on the shore were startled by a terrible blast, and looking toward the Boyne they could see that an explosion had occurred on board. In a few minutes the whole ship was in flames and those on board were seeking the best means of escape. A large number lost their lives in the explosion, and many others were drowned trying to swim to shore.
At the time of the explosion a young marine was on board with his wife and child, a toddler of eighteen months. The lifeboats were useless, and he could see that if they remained on board the burning ship they would all perish.
In the midst of the terrible danger the marine suddenly thought of a way of escape. There were some animals in pens on board, and he rushed to them. The animals were wild with fear but, seizing a full-grown sheep, he carried it onto the deck. Tying the baby securely on the animal's back, he dropped them both overboard. He said, "There—swim to the land, and God be with you!"
The marine's first thought was of the danger and, knowing all other hope of escape to be gone, he resolved to trust his precious child to the back of the sheep. This makes us think of that verse in the Scriptures, He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver Him. (Psa. 22:88He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. (Psalm 22:8).) It could also read, He rolled Himself on the Lord. The father simply rolled his child on the sheep. He thought, If it sinks, my boy sinks. If it survives, he survives too. What a beautiful picture of faith and trust!
Now for the rest of our story. The sheep struck out for land with its precious burden and finally reached the shallow water. There it was rescued by spectators on the shore who rushed forward to meet it and released the child, safe and sound.
In the meantime the marine and his wife had leaped into the sea, where he helped her keep afloat for some time. Finally they were both picked up by a boat that had been sent to rescue survivors. The little boy was soon restored to his rejoicing parents, apparently unharmed by his strange experience and narrow escape.
One cannot read this story without seeing in it a picture of a more wonderful deliverance-the deliverance by the Lord Jesus of all those who trust Him for their souls' salvation.
In the hour of peril the harmless sheep was entrusted with the salvation of that little child; the little boy was "rolled" upon his deliverer and brought safely to shore. God entrusted to Jesus, His own beloved Son, the eternal safety of all those whose sins He bore upon the cross. Alone, for them, He went through death's dark raging flood; alone, for them, He bore the storm of God's wrath against their sins upon the cross.
The sheep in our story reached shore alive, but Jesus had to die. He gave up His life, that we might live. He shed His precious blood to wash away our sins, for without shedding of blood is no remission. By His death and resurrection He opened the way to heaven, and now as the risen and glorified Savior at God's right hand, He proclaims to all: Come unto Me.
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. (John 14:66Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6).)
Had the waves been too high, the sheep and its precious burden might both have perished. But all those who have put their trust in Jesus are safe forever. I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand, we hear Him say in John 10:2828And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:28). Again in John 3:1616For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16): For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.