Prodigal & Shepherd
The Joyful Shepherd
Jesus told the lost sons (prodigal), the lost sheep, and the lost coin as one, inter-related parable. Interestingly, the early church didn’t use the symbol of the cross for Christianity but instead used, among other things, the image of a joyful shepherd carrying the sheep back to its fold. Lost Sheep Parable Explained
For some, it's difficult to see how Jesus' death on the cross saves. In fact, some see God as brutal because of the cross. For these, the Good Shepherd image may more clearly show the heart of God and better explain the need for the cross—a picture that weds both a good and joyful shepherd (God) and a previously terrified sheep (us) wrapped around his shoulders as he joyfully goes about his mission of restoring his sheep.