Our Good Royal Shepherd

The Royal Shepherd in Skipton is the only pub in the country to bear that name. I wandered in to ask the landlord what he knew of its origins, but he had no idea. It used to display a picture of King George III, which is a clue. George was known for his interest in agriculture and enjoyed reading manuals on husbandry. He was therefore given the nickname ‘Farmer George’. The name George derives from the Greek word geōrgos (γεωργός) meaning ‘farmer, earth-worker’, so he was aptly named. That such a pub should exist in Skipton, which means Sheep Town, a gateway to the sheepfolds of the dales, is natural.

Christ, the King of kings called Himself ‘the good shepherd’. Shepherding, far from the romanticised images, was hard, lonely work, and involved the danger of protecting a flock from wild animals and marauding humans. That a king should Himself guard these sheep is testament to 

i)                    His great love

ii)                   Their great value

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” 

John 10:11-18