Jesus: The Good Shepherd?

Wisdom for the Heart
Updated Feb 12, 2024

(Transcript of the video above, edited for readability)

What do we mean when we say that Jesus is the good shepherd? Well, for those of us living in suburbia here in America, we probably don't have a clue because we've never been very close to a sheep, and I've never met a shepherd.

We've, however, much to learn from that metaphor because back in the days of Scripture, we understand what sheep were like as we read and learn of them. Sheep were stubborn. They were timid. They were fearful. They had to be kept and cared for. They were unable to defend themselves. They had trouble getting along in a flock, and they had that budding order just as hens have a pecking order, and it took the presence of the shepherd to dispel the conflict. It took the presence of the shepherd to carve out an inlet so that the sheep could drink from still water. As David said, "he leads me besides still water." Well, that's significant because sheep are so fearful they won't drink from running water. When David talked about the green pastures, "he makes me lie down..." You think, well, what does that mean? The shepherd goes down and pushes on the backs of sheep to make them lie down? No, it means he makes it possible for me to lie down because the sheep will not lie down if they're hungry, if they're afraid.

And so, when we're called sheep in the Scripture and the Lord is called the good shepherd, what that means is he can fulfill everything necessary for us to enter the rich pasture. For us to drink. For us to be cared, for us to be protected. It takes a certain kind of shepherd to satisfy the needs of the sheep. And when we say that Jesus is the good shepherd, that means in effect, he's the best.

We follow him, and all of our needs will be met. So, as David said in Psalm 23, "I shall not want." That means I have no lack of anything that I truly need because I'm following the shepherd.

(First published as "Jesus: The Good Shepherd?" on on September 21, 2010)


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