The Good Shepherd
John 10:11 ‘I AM the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.’
The occupation of shepherd was considered one of the lowest, menial types of work in the Mid-eastern culture, and was even despised by many. Yet throughout the Bible God chooses to use the metaphor of shepherds to illustrate His relationship with humanity. Probably the best example is found in the well known Psalm 23 which begins with the phrase ‘The Lord is my Shepherd.’ And even before David’s time, Moses described his congregation as ‘sheep which have no shepherd.’ (Numbers 27:17) When Jesus was born, God chose angels to announce His birth to group of shepherds, probably in part to show that He is no respecter of persons, and values the life of each person or group equally.
In today’s verse Jesus calls Himself the ‘Good Shepherd’. As the Good Shepherd, Jesus knows His sheep and they know Him. However the Good Shepherd knows His flock more intimately than any human shepherd, and is therefore in a much better position to meet their needs. Although sheep are considered of all animals most dumb, and likely to stray, they know their shepherd, and will only obey and follow him. So it is with us who know and trust the Good Shepherd. We realize that only He can manage our lives, ensure that we are guided to ‘good pastures’, and are protected from the wiles and snares of the evil one. The Good Shepherd Jesus has willingly made the ultimate sacrifice of laying down His life for His flock. Now, as a result of His death and resurrection, we have the opportunity to choose abundant life here as sheep of the Good Shepherd’s flock, and the privilege of spending eternal life in the sheepfold of heaven.