THE GOOD SHEPHERD
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 RSV)
God was undoubtedly a Good Shepherd to His flock, the children of Israel. He sought for them in Egypt and delivered them out of the grip of Pharaoh.
When God brought them out, He “went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.” (Exo. 13:21 NKJV).
While they passed through the wilderness, God jealously watched over His flock (Israel) day and night and permitted no one to do them wrong (Psa. 105:13-15). He satisfied them with the bread of heaven and brought water out of the rock for them to drink. Eventually, God settled them in the green pasture, the Promised Land.
Although God was a Good Shepherd to the house of Israel, yet they were constantly straying from Him. But God would not give up on His strayed sheep. He promised through His prophets to send them another Good Shepherd like Himself who would seek for and restore to Him the lost or strayed sheep of Israel and His other sheep among the Gentiles (Eze. 34:23, 37:24, Isa. 40:11).
The children of Israel were not the only sheep God intended to have, for all of men were created to be God’s sheep (1 Pet. 2:25). Therefore, while God was shepherding the flock of Israel under the Old Covenant, He had a greater plan and purpose to seek for and bring into His fold His sheep from every nation of the earth, so that there will be one-fold and one shepherd.
God spoke expressly through the prophets of old, saying, “I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them-My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd.” (Eze. 34:23 NKJV).
The Lord Jesus also confirmed this prophecy, saying, “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.” (John 10:16 NKJV).
Obviously, the prophecy that God would at a certain time set over all His flock from every nation of the earth one shepherd called “My servant David” was not referring to King David, but to Jesus Christ. As at the time this prophecy was given, David had died for about four hundred years.
Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd God promised to establish over all His flock – whether Jews or Gentiles, whether circumcised in the flesh or not. All those who have put their faith in the person and finished work of Christ for salvation and have confessed Christ Jesus as their Lord and Saviour are God’s flock.
Peter testifies, “For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Pet. 2:25 NKJV).
As God the Father was the Good Shepherd over the nation of Israel under the Old Covenant, so also is Jesus Christ today the Good Shepherd over all the born-again believers under the New Covenant.
How did we know that Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd God promised to set over His entire flock?
First, when Jesus Christ came into the world, He introduced Himself as the Good Shepherd:
Jesus publicly announced, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 NKJV).
“I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” (John 10:14 NKJV).
Only God is always perfectly or completely good by all standards.
The Scripture testifies, “No one is good but One, that is, God…” (Matt. 19:17 NKJV).
Jesus Christ is God manifested in the flesh, so He is the only Good Shepherd (1 Tim 3:16).
Second, Jesus Christ entered the sheepfold by the door (John 10:1-2):
By right, Jesus owns us, for we were created through Him.
John reveals, “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:3 NKJV).
Nevertheless, Jesus did not force Himself upon us, but was chosen, appointed and established as our Shepherd by God the Father.
Jesus said, “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” (John 10:29 NKJV).
True shepherds or pastors are those called, chosen and appointed by God Himself!
Third, Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd because He goes before His sheep:
John writes, “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (John 10:4 NKJV).
As a Good Shepherd, Jesus has gone ahead of us in everything. He has experienced all things that we shall ever experience or encounter in this evil world.
Therefore, He can easily be touched with the feelings of our infirmities or weaknesses having been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15).
The Scripture states, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” (Heb. 2:18 NKJV).
Before you get into any situation as God’s sheep, the Lord Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd is already there ahead of you!
As God’s sheep, you are never and will never be alone in any situation. “For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5 NKJV).
Moreover, Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd because He is a perfect example for us in everything. He is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person. “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” (Col. 2:9 NKJV).
It is only in Jesus Christ that we could perfectly and clearly see, know and understand God’s heart, person, nature or character. He is therefore the only One that God the Father has set before us to look up to, listen to, conform to, and imitate in everything (Matt. 17:5).
As a sheep of God, your eyes must be fixed on Jesus and you must see to it that you follow Him daily, constantly and closely, abiding in His teachings, walking in His footsteps, and conforming wholly to His example.
Any shepherd or pastor whose lifestyle and teaching does not wholly conform to that of Christ is a stranger that you must not follow (John 10:5).
Fourth, Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd because He knows His sheep intimately:
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” (John 10:14 NKJV).
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27 NKJV).
Jesus does not need anyone to introduce you to Him, for He is the God who made you. The Scripture testifies that Jesus “had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.” (John 2:25 NKJV).
The Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus, knows and understands you deeper and better than you will ever know and understand yourself.
He knows all your inner struggles, weaknesses, infirmities, pains, failures, fears, sorrows, anxieties or worries that you have perfectly concealed from men. Therefore, Jesus can help you perfectly, completely or absolutely!
Fifth, Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd because He laid down His life for His sheep:
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 RSV).
Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, bore the punishment of our straying from God.
The Scripture testifies, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6 NKJV).
It cost Jesus His life for us, the lost sheep, to be restored to God. Jesus laid down His life on the cross for us to be reconciled to God, not out of compulsion or a mere sense of obligation, but out of His selfless love for us.
Jesus said, “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself…” (John 10:18 NKJV).
No one can ever love you much more than Jesus does!
Sixth, Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd because He gives eternal life to His sheep:
Jesus said, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28 NKJV).
It is only in Christ that you can find eternal life.
The Scripture states, “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” (1 John 5:11 NKJV).
“For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.” (John 5:21 NKJV).
Therefore, Jesus Christ is the only true source or giver of eternal life (John 17:2). Every born- again believer, God’s sheep, has eternal life (God’s kind of life) in them.
The Scripture assures, “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12 NKJV).
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36 NKJV).
If you are one of God’s sheep, you already have everything necessary for you to live a holy, victorious, prosperous and fulfilled life in this present evil world (2 Pet. 1:3).
Lastly, Jesus is the Good Shepherd because no one can snatch His sheep out of His hand:
Jesus never leaves nor forsakes His sheep; He always feeds, defends, protects and preserves His sheep.
Jesus assures all His sheep, saying, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20 NKJV).
Beloved, if you are born again, you are one of God’s sheep and no evil man, angel, or power can destroy you or pluck you out of God’s hand.
Jesus assures, “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” (John 10:29 NKJV).
You are only vulnerable to the attack of the enemy when you willfully ignore the Good Shepherd’s voice and choose to follow a stranger (John 17:12). Therefore, stay in Jesus’ sheepfold, under His guidance and authority.
Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for setting Jesus Christ over me as my Good Shepherd. My Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me daily to recognize, obey and follow the voice of my Good Shepherd, in Jesus’ name. Amen.