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As noted in John 10:11-18, Jesus metaphorically described His followers as sheep, with Himself as their "good shepherd", because they were to follow Him in the same obedient and congregate fashion in which an actual flock of sheep followed their shepherd. His followers were not to "stray away" to other teachers or influences. However, if they did, he would actively seek their return (Luke 15:3-7). For His part, He would not abandon them to thieves or wolves (that is, influences that would try to lure them away from Him), but would defend them to the point of laying down His life on their behalf. By calling His followers "sheep", he was not demeaning them, or "glossing over" their individuality, in any way, but instead expressing a high degree of love and concern for each and every one of them.
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