I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. John 10:11
Sheep are one of the only animals that cannot take care of themselves. They have no homing instincts and are therefore easily lost. They have no defensive skills and are therefore easy prey. They have no sense of danger nor do they have depth perception so they will walk into a raging river or off a cliff. Some consider sheep to be stupid, but that is not really the case. In fact, Icelandic sheep are among the most intelligent animals in the world. The primary issue with sheep is that they need constant care and are totally dependent on the shepherd for survival.
What Jesus Is Like
Knowing these things about sheep helps us to understand the significance of the Bible’s many references to people being likened to sheep and the significance of Jesus’ claim to being our Good Shepherd. Have you seen that old picture of Jesus with a battered lamb draped over His shoulder? That is an artist’s attempt to capture the essence of what Jesus as the Good Shepherd is like. He rescues us from danger and destruction and carries us safely through life.
The Bible says concerning humanity, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus as the Good Shepherd has come to seek and to save those who were lost and to restore them to their rightful place in the Father’s fold. He did this ultimately by laying down His life for the sheep (John 10:15). Having laid down His life for us, He now promises to guide, protect, and provide for us on our journey to heaven.
The Shepherd Guides, Protects, and Provides
When Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd,” everyone hearing those words would have immediately thought of that great Shepherd Psalm. We know it today as Psalm 23. Let me quote it here as a final thought on Jesus’s claim to be the Good Shepherd.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.