I AM the Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:11

This is the 4th I AM statement of Jesus found in the gospel of John. In previous I AM articles from Fresh Truth, we are seeing Jesus’s use of the ‘I AM’ as His claim to be God. Again, in this verse above Jesus affirms Himself as the I AM from Exodus 3:14. He is God in the flesh, and He adds to this claim an illustration of Himself as ‘The Good Shepherd.’ In this article we will break this statement down, firstly looking at the context of this statement as to why Jesus made this claim; secondly, we will look at how this statement is a claim to His Deity; and then thirdly, we will look at why Jesus is the good shepherd.

To set the scene, we refer back to our last article, ‘I AM the door of the sheep.’ We made note that chapter 10 is a continuation from the story of Jesus healing a man born blind in chapter 9. The fact that these spiritual leaders of Israel kicked out this man who was healed from a birth defect (born blind) from the synagogue because of this miracle performed by Jesus sets up His statements and hard rebuke that follow in John 10. He calls these spiritual leaders out for their hypocrisy. Jesus calls these leaders thieves and robbers because they did not enter through the proper way. They had entered into this position of power by some other means (whether it be political, or by some other connections). Their intentions were not to take care of the needs of the people, but they were in position of power for their own self gain.

In comparison to the Pharisees, when Jesus refers to Himself as the Good Shepherd. He is saying that He is the Superior Shepherd of Israel. The word ‘good’ in the Greek is ‘kalos’ and it means excellent, beautiful, admirable. When used in this context in comparison to the spiritual leaders of Israel, He is the better shepherd, or He is the Superior Shepherd because He is here to tend to His sheep. He is superior because He is beautiful to be gazed upon as an example of what a good shepherd is to be like. And He is excellent in His nature and character worthy to be admired and praised as a good shepherd.

To add on to that point, when Jesus is saying, “I AM The Good Shepherd.” He is also making claim to His Deity. He is claiming to be THE good shepherd of Israel because He has come down in search for His lost sheep in Ezekiel 34:11-12 For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. He is claiming to be THE personal shepherd found in psalm 23:1, The Lord is my shepherd…’ He is claiming to be THE caring Shepherd found in Isaiah 40:11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.’ We also find that this Good Shepherd offers security because He is strong “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting… …And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the Lord, In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God; And they shall abide, For now He shall be great to the ends of the earth.” (Micah 5:2,4). Jesus is not claiming to be ‘a’ Shepherd of Israel, but He is claiming to be ‘THE’ shepherd of Israel found in the scriptures. That Shepherd He is claiming to be is God Himself.

Jesus is the good shepherd because ‘He calls His sheep by name…’ (John 10:3). Let us unpack this further. In Jesus time when shepherds would go into a town, they would leave their sheep in a large town sheepfold where other shepherds would also leave their sheep. A doorkeeper would look after all the sheep while the shepherds would rest in an inn for the night. When a Shepherd would return to collect his sheep from the sheepfold, He would call his own sheep by name. His sheep would recognize his voice and follow his voice out of the sheepfold. Jesus is this good shepherd because He knows His own by name. His own would recognize His voice and would follow Jesus ways and teachings. The challenge for us is, do we know if we are His sheep? We know if we are His sheep if we follow His voice. Jesus says, “If you abide in my words, you truly are my disciples (John 8:31). A true follower of Jesus is one who follows His words and does them.

Jesus is the good shepherd because he makes sure that the 99 sheep are accounted for and are safe, before He goes searching for the one lost sheep. The question that comes to mind is, would it be worth going back out into the wilderness in search of just one lost sheep? Would it be worth going back out if we know the dangers of the predators, and terrain during the night? The good shepherd would go out looking for this one lost sheep. Once the lost sheep is found, he would pick it up and carry it on his shoulders back to the sheepfold rejoicing along the way. Jesus is this good shepherd because He is the one who is doing the rescuing. He has come down from Heaven into the world to show that He would lay His life down to rescue the lost. Even if it was just one soul. The picture of the shepherd carrying the sheep on His shoulders when it is found and the shepherd rejoicing, shows us how valuable each sheep is and how He cares about them. This is a beautiful picture of God’s love for the world. How he desires for His creation to be redeemed back to Him. He would lay down His life in search of one soul that needs saving.

The Bible is clear, we must put our faith and Hope in Jesus Christ alone to be our Shepherd. He makes it very clear that He is the only way to being redeemed back to God. There is no other way. He is the good shepherd because He leads His sheep to eternal life. He is the good shepherd because He lays down His life for His sheep. Sin has come at a cost and the cost of sin is death. Scripture says, ‘For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Romans 6:23). Jesus paid this heavy price for us through the shedding of His blood on that cross. If you haven’t made the decision to follow Jesus, we encourage you that by believing in His death, burial and resurrection we have an opportunity to be in right relationship with God. The Bible says in James 4:13-14, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” Turn to Jesus, repent of your sins, and trust in Him for your eternal salvation while you still have time. 

If you want to find out more you can leave a message on our website or email fresh.truth1711@gmail.com. Shalom and God bless

The Holy Bible

Fresh Truth Ministries

Blue Letter Bible

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