Jesus is the good shepherd. We sing it in hymns like, “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us”. And the reason we sing these truths and know these truths is that it came from the Savior’s own mouth.
Jesus used several analogies to describe His person and ministry–He is the bread of life, the light of the world, the door, the resurrection, the life, the way, the truth, the true vine…and the good shepherd.
In John 10:11, He says that He is the good shepherd. Elsewhere, we see this metaphor used to explain how His sheep know His voice and He knows them and they follow Him. But here, it’s another specific picture that the Lord gives using this analogy. He says that the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
In those times, shepherds would most certainly do that. They would risk life and limb to protect the sheep under their care. After all, it was their livelihood. While a hired hand who had no significant stake in the sheep might flee from a wolf, as the following verse says, a shepherd would fight the wolf to protect the sheep, at the risk of his own life.
Perhaps King David is in the Savior’s mind here, since David, too, was a shepherd before he was king and risked his own life to protect them, and David was a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah. But Christ would show Himself to be a greater Shepherd, in that not only did He risk His life for the sheep, but He actually died for them.
You see, in order for His people to have eternal life, the Eternal One died in their place and purchased their lives with His blood. The Good Shepherd endured the horrors of the cross and the wrath of His Father so that sinners like you and me could be saved through faith.
Do you trust in the Good Shepherd? Do you know that He laid down His life for the sheep? Let us worship Him this day.