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A Spiritual Lesson In Toon Language: Lesson 51

Topic: Jesus--The Good Shepherd

Series: MGM

Episode: Sheep Wrecked

Lesson PDF link: 51.pdf


What is a shepherd; and what does a good one do? A shepherd (if he/she is a good one) will guard the sheep with deep passion and will be brave. The shepherd frees sheep from danger and guards them tirelessly. He/She needs to be able to see possible tricks and traps even though well hidden, so I am thinking that a good eye for detail would be useful. In this lesson's cartoon we will see a sheepherder guarding his sheep against the tricks of the enemy wolf. We will compare this cartoon's symbols to the Bible.

Cartoon Show: MGM: "Sheep Wrecked":

MGM: "Sheep Wrecked": Direct link for video/webmUsing IE? Video not working? Download Windows HTML 5(WebM) video support: WebMProject.org

The Bible talks about this job a lot. This is most noted with David as a boy and in the New Testament--Jesus. There are many more areas mentioned biblically, but we are focused on Jesus being the Good Shepherd.

The Bible States In John 10: 1-21

1 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.

2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.

3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.

8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.

9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.

13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—

15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.

16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.

18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided.

20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”

21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

The Bible States In Matthew 7: 15-20:

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.

19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

What did you see in the cartoon that will help our Bible Study?

Let's first take a look at the wolf. What tricks did he use to try to do his dirty work and what was the way every attempt was snuffed out and foiled? In the cartoon, we see ten tricks the wolf used and a not so obvious one added as well.

1: Kidnapping the sheep and putting them under his clothes exposing one only under his arm as a trick:

Answer: Droopy being a good sheepherder or shepherd knows his sheep and has them numbered. He always has an inventory of all his lambs.

2: During the count of inventory as a result of this first attempt, the wolf tries to enter the pen as a wolf in sheep's clothing presumably as the 'tenth sheep', when Droopy was only on nine. We are to suppose that the ninth sheep and maybe the tenth were being worn as part of a very cheap disguise, or that the wolf just made a mistake and got ahead of Droopy's count.

Answer: Discernment pays off here as Droopy sees through this lame attempt and now backfires what people in toon language call a comedy cannon at the wolf after a small fight for it which blows his disguise and puts the brakes on the wolf's plans for the time being. Presumably, if the wolf was wearing live sheep this time, they are still safe (even though off camera). Droopy is also not shy about backfiring this comedy cannon again when the wolf foolishly wants to know "how's this thing work" (which was the punch-line of the gag).

3: The wolf uses first a barrel, then a tree, then a rock, and then a cactus, then a bush for cover while he tries to enter the pen again presumably to fool Droopy into thinking that there was nothing out there.

Answer, this is another cheap trick that a lot of cartoon villains use. As usual, this doesn't work as the sheep really like the bush. Vegetation is a food source for these sheep. This exposes the wolf's disguise again and now the wolf is now in an embarrassing situation of having no clothes.

4: Playing on sympathy--in an attempt to kidnap the sheep, the wolf puts on the lambs like clothing and says he's cold.

Answer: There is no sympathy here as Droopy sees this as another attempt only at killing his sheep. Droopy threatens the wolf with being shot in the butt if he doesn't give them up. When the wolf tries to keep one on his head for 'warmth', Droopy shoots him and the wolf slinks away presumably naked where he was shot.

5: A plunger on a bow and arrow:

Answer: This sheep got wounded in a way but not took as the wool was stripped and made this sheep partially naked. She makes the best of her problem and models for the audience. This is probably the best attempt at kidnapping in the picture as Droopy didn't get there in time, but this sheep defended herself well enough. In our lives, we are not to be defenseless ourselves, in case God decides to give us a test. Trust me, if really big trouble happened, God would show up and defend.

6: Stork Disguise--The wolf disguised himself as a stork that delivered a sheep by mistake.

Answer: Droopy sees the trick and misleads the wolf to a sheep shearing shed which takes all of his disguise and fur leaving him to look like a poodle. (Note: The cartoonist takes an artistic comedy license here with Droopy deceiving the wolf.) How would you write this to be truthful and yet funny? There may not be a way to make it just as funny, but in real life the wolf would probably be shot dead or the like.

7: Fleas: The wolf now attempts to put a bottle of fleas to bad use.

Answer: The fleas don't like Droopy and attack the wolf. Droopy probably has some kind of repellant to avoid this sort of thing--well he is a dog of course.

8: Little Beau Peep--In an attempt to play on a fable, the wolf dresses as the famous shepherdess to attempt kidnapping the sheep again.

Answer: Droopy thinks this is odd and pulls up his outfit like a blind and there his hairy legs are. Droopy pumps this false shepherd full of lead again. For some reason the wolf doesn't think he was hit until he drank some water and couldn't hold it in. This is another popular toon gag.

9: Dog Whistle--Thinking he can call the sheepherder into a distraction in order to hurt him very badly, the wolf blows a dog whistle.

Answer: This alerts Droopy alright, but he is very quick and whacks the wolf instead with his own club.

10: Guided missile--The wolf now steals a guided missile that for some reason has a sheepherder setting on it. The wolf uses this setting to go after Droopy .

Answer: Droopy, in another misdirection, makes this missile think that the wolf is a sheepherder and blows him up. The wolf (if we want to trust him) now has an adverse taste to lamb at this cartoon's end. I thought that the wolf should have been run over by a train a couple of times - one at the beginning and one at the end. This is because the wolf is on train tracks at both points of the picture. For the wolf not to be is I think unusual anyway considering that he is a bad guy and cartoons of that day did that gag all the time.

Note: Again, the cartoonist takes an artistic comedy license here as Droopy deceives the missile. How would you write it to be truthful and funny? There may not be a funnier way for the cartoon itself. My wife said they might should have wrote for Droopy to control the missile by riding it. I said that Droopy might should have been written to push the button on the missile until 'wolf' would pop up, then let the wolf have it.

11: Charisma: All through the picture, this wolf is extremely polite and nice even though evil. This is a very dangerous thing and this wolf seems to be quite good at it. On the surface, he doesn't look like a bad guy until you see the fruit of his labor. This fruit only includes stealing, killing and devouring sheep with deception and tricks. This in real life could destroy people's lives. This is why Jesus came, so we wouldn't fall victim to a bad leader who wants to lead us from where we need to be into deadly traps.

Answer: Discernment is definitely a prize worth acquiring.

The Bible States In Ephesians 6: 10-17

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The Bible States In Philippians 1: 9-11

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,

10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,

11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

The Bible States In I Peter 5: 1-11

1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed:

2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;

3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

If anything, we have learned that the devil has a variety of attacks. These attacks have four things in common. These include to only steal, kill, destroy, and deceive. Sometimes the devil will attack with a soft charismatic voice and sometimes a vicious assault. However, the discerning Christian will usually be able to laugh at the ridiculous nature of some of his tricks. Once the devil is found out as the deceiver, he can be beaten easily as long as we are steadfast in the Lord Jesus. Even if we know what we are stepping into is a trap, sometimes there is another trap within it that lies about the severity of the trap we see and therefore we can step into such problems knowing but not knowing. This is what charisma in a bad way like the devil's leads to sometimes without totally walking in Christ. The devil is reduced to using cheap tricks, but many get caught in these traps because people underestimate them. It's like not knowing how to swim and getting too close to the deep end of a swimming pool because someone asked you to look at something (even the water itself) and then that someone pushes you into the water for their enjoyment and of course doesn't help when you're obviously in trouble. This would be the kind of sick joke of a trap we are talking about that would be the calling card of the devil.

When we become adults (and even a lot of times sooner) we most likely have a job to do and that probably has some leadership qualities to it. When we become Christians, we will first learn to be nourished in the Word and by examples of our other brothers and sisters in Christ. This is how we are nourished and grow in the faith correctly most of the time. Afterward, we become charismatic leaders to train others, and they still others. We need to be able to discern God's plan and the enemy's plan. We uphold God's plan for our various lives and gifts and snuff out the enemy's plan and show those plans for what they are. This will give nourishment to budding new Christians and testify to those in Christ who need it. Furthermore, it shows the rest of the world that is trapped in the devil's various snares that freedom is possible and sure in Jesus Christ our Lord.