The Good Shepherd
“I am the good shepherd…” (John 10:11, 14)
In John 10:9, Jesus paints a picture of Himself as the door, the only way to salvation. He quickly expands His metaphor and says that He is the “good shepherd” who lays down His life for the sheep. In this Jesus describes how he obtains salvation for His people.
He will save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)
Christ’s death was an actual, atoning sacrifice offered up for a specific people—His sheep. The true shepherd cares for His sheep, even to the point of death. His flock will not follow after false shepherds, for they know the One who protects, sustains, and saves them.
Jesus’ listeners were very familiar with this picture. In Ezekiel 34, the prophet condemned the false shepherds of Israel (Ezekiel 34:1-10). These were the “hired hands” Jesus spoke against in John 10:12, who did not care for the people of Israel, or for the eternal souls of those people.
By contrast, Jesus is the Good Shepherd as prophesied in the Old Testament.
For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day.” (Ezekiel 34:11-12)
Indeed, Christ knows His sheep, and those that are His can never be snatched out of His hand (John 10:27-29).
Yet His flock expands beyond the borders of Israel, and He promises to gather sheep “which are not of this fold,” that is Gentile believers, and unite all of His people into one flock.
Christian, do you treasure the care that is offered to you by the Good Shepherd? Do you trust that His leading will never cause you to stray? Do you seek to follow Him alone?
He is the Good Shepherd.