Jesus the Good Shepherd - The Origin
Jesus the good shepherd is referenced in the book of John, chapter 10. In His own words, Jesus tells us in John 10:11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep, and they know me just as my Father knows me and I know my Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Jesus the Good Shepherd - The Meaning
Jesus is the good shepherd to His believers just as the shepherds were of their livestock. A shepherd tended his flock day and night. He would gather the sheep into a sheepfold at night for their protection. The sheepfold was a pen, a cave, or an area backed by stone walls. Since there were no doors, the shepherd would often sleep or sit in the opening, ready to guard his sheep from harm.
Being different than a hired keeper who might run away in the face of danger, the flock belonged to the shepherd who would stay and defend them. He had a genuine loving concern for what belonged to him. In chapter 10, Jesus illustrates how the shepherd cares for his flock, protecting them from weather, thieves, and predatory animals. He loved and shielded them and if necessary, he would lay down his life for them.
Jesus is that loving protector and caretaker for His flock. Ezekiel 34 foretold of the Messiah who would, like a true shepherd, come to caringly keep God’s people. It was a loving message of the coming Christ, the good shepherd.
John 10 tells us how thieves and wolves come to destroy the sheep. But the good shepherd is there to save them. These verses tell us that though Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy God’s people (John 10:10). Jesus is there to protect, love, and save us from destruction giving us eternal life. Jesus came not to merely be the hired keeper but came as the one (the only one), who was and is, completely committed to us -- even to His own death and resurrection. Jesus is the good shepherd who lay down His physical life for you and me.
Jesus the good shepherd - The Purpose
Jesus the good shepherd’s purpose is to give life and protect from destruction. You may be asking yourself why Jesus needed to give His life for our protection. We all have sinned! By our sin, we are lost to the eternal life God has for us. We will not enter heaven if we don’t accept Jesus the good shepherd. Jesus’ blood was shed as payment for our sins. But He was resurrected; He lives as our shepherd today!
When we accept this gift, when we believe that He did this for us, we are saved from paying the debt ourselves. Romans 6:23 says: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” John 6 says that Jesus is the true bread from heaven. John 6:33 says, “The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Have you accepted the life He offers?
Growing in Jesus Christ also includes reflecting the good works of our Good Shepherd. If you feel called to sponsor a child through a tremendous Christian charity, please visit our friends at Compassion International.