11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
Jesus the Good Shepherd
Jesus the Good Shepherd – The Origin
Jesus the good shepherd is referenced in the book of John, chapter 10. In His own words, Jesus tells us in John 10:11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep, and they know me just as my Father knows me and I know my Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Jesus the Good Shepherd – The Meaning
Jesus is the good shepherd to His believers just as the shepherds were of their livestock. A shepherd tended his flock day and night. He would gather the sheep into a sheepfold at night for their protection. The sheepfold was a pen, a cave, or an area backed by stone walls. Since there were no doors, the shepherd would often sleep or sit in the opening, ready to guard his sheep from harm.
Being different than a hired keeper who might run away in the face of danger, the flock belonged to the shepherd who would stay and defend them. He had a genuine loving concern for what belonged to him. In chapter 10, Jesus illustrates how the shepherd cares for his flock, protecting them from weather, thieves, and predatory animals. He loved and shielded them and if necessary, he would lay down his life for them.
Jesus is that loving protector and caretaker for His flock. Ezekiel 34 foretold of the Messiah who would, like a true shepherd, come to caringly keep God’s people. It was a loving message of the coming Christ, the good shepherd.
John 10 tells us how thieves and wolves come to destroy the sheep. But the good shepherd is there to save them. These verses tell us that though Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy God’s people (John 10:10). Jesus is there to protect, love, and save us from destruction giving us eternal life. Jesus came not to merely be the hired keeper but came as the one (the only one), who was and is, completely committed to us — even to His own death and resurrection. Jesus is the good shepherd who lay down His physical life for you and me.
Jesus the good shepherd – The Purpose
Jesus the good shepherd’s purpose is to give life and protect from destruction. You may be asking yourself why Jesus needed to give His life for our protection. We all have sinned! By our sin, we are lost to the eternal life God has for us. We will not enter heaven if we don’t accept Jesus the good shepherd. Jesus’ blood was shed as payment for our sins. But He was resurrected; He lives as our shepherd today!
When we accept this gift, when we believe that He did this for us, we are saved from paying the debt ourselves. Romans 6:23 says: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” John 6 says that Jesus is the true bread from heaven. John 6:33 says, “The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Have you accepted the life He offers?
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:2-3
A pastor friend of mine was telling another pastor about the long-awaited vacation that he and his family were preparing for. The other pastor immediately replied, “Vacation? I never take a vacation. Satan doesn’t take a vacation and neither do I!”
To which my friend wisely retorted, “Well, that’s all right. Satan has never been my example!”
In the summer when school is out and the sun is shining, our thoughts turn toward vacation. And that’s a good thing! We were wired with an innate need to take a break from our usual pace and spend some time being refreshed and recharged.
But for some reason, we sometimes seem apologetic about taking time off or needing a change of pace for a little while. It may be that our internal understanding of a real “work ethic” demands that we feel a little guilty about time that we’re not being “productive” or “efficient.” Or maybe we are concerned that those projects and clients we have been carefully nurturing along will fall to pieces if we put them on hold for a week or two. Maybe we are distorting Paul’s words to the Ephesians, resisting vacations and working nonstop so that we can “make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).
If that’s your brain strain, then let me put a biblical stop to that train of thought and provide you with three solid, straight-from-Scripture reasons to enjoy a guilt-free, refreshing time away from your usual pace of work this summer.
Reason number one: it’s commanded in Scripture. The fourth commandment tells us to “remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Exodus 20:8). That means more than just going to church on Sunday. The principle of “Sabbath”—rooted in God’s example through creation of resting on the seventh day—intertwines with the Old Testament law code.
There were not only to be days of Sabbath, but week-long festivals scattered throughout the Jewish seasons. In fact, there were Sabbath yearsin their calendar! God’s loving command was intended to pull His people aside for rest so they would be reminded that all good things come from Him . . . not from their frantic efforts at work.
A second reason why it’s a good idea to take a well-deserved break is that your body and spirit need it. I love the picture that David paints for us in Psalm 23:1-6 of a shepherd leading his sheep to a place of refreshment and rest. We are finite, fallible, limited creatures, and without rest we’ll find that burnout and exhaustion eventually take their toll. Our ability to be gracious, loving, and patient will be a casualty of our compulsive work habits. Fatigue and weariness will leave us vulnerable to temptation. And most disturbingly, our intimacy with the Lord will suffer as our time with Him becomes perfunctory at best, and nonexistent at worst. All that can be avoided if we allow our Good Shepherd to restore our soul with times of rest in green pastures and with seasons of refreshment beside quiet waters.
And just in case we need another reason to put our feet up and relax now and then, remember that Jesus did it! He often withdrew from the crush of the crowds to seasons of prayer and rest. During a storm on the Sea of Galilee He was sound asleep in the boat (Mark 4:38). And we are told that while on a trip from Judea to Galilee “Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well” (John 4:6). There were always more people to heal, more messages to preach, and more places to go, but Jesus displayed the importance of rest.
So, whether it’s a weekend of camping, a day at the pool, or a week away with close friends or family members, turn off the cell-phone, close the computer, and get away! There’s no good reason not to!
By: Charles Spurgeon
“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd.”— Isaiah xl.11.
We commence with OLD TESTAMENT ILLUSTRATIONS of the manner in which the Lord Jesus Christ discharges the office of feeding his flock like a shepherd.
Out of five great types we begin with Abel, the shepherd slain. The second man who was born into the world was a shepherd, and was in many respects typical of our good shepherd. “Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.” Abel was a type of the Saviour in that, being a shepherd, he sanctified his work to the glory of God, and he offered sacrifice of blood upon the altar of the Lord, and the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering. This early type of our Lord is not very full and comprehensive, but it is exceedingly clear and distinct. Like the first streak of light which tinges the east at the sunrise, it does not reveal everything, but it clearly manifests the great fact that the sun is coming. Abel is nothing like so complete and perfect a portrait of our own Lord Jesus, as other shepherds of whom we have to speak; but as we see him standing a shepherd and yet a sacrificing priest offering upon the altar a sacrifice of sweet smell unto God, we discern there at once the picture of our Lord, who brings before his Father a sacrifice of precious blood, to which Jehovah ever hath respect. Abel, the sacrificing shepherd, was hated by his brother— hated without a cause; and even so was the Saviour: the spirit of this world, the natural and carnal man, hated the better man, the accepted man in whom the Spirit of grace was found, and rested not until his blood had been shed. Abel fell, and sprinkled his own altar and his sacrifice with his own blood; and he must be blind indeed who cannot behold the Lord Jesus slain by the enmity of man while serving as a priest before the Lord. Abel is the type of Jesus the slain shepherd; let us attentively consider him. We have been reading in the tenth chapter of John, this morning, that the good Shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep— let us weep over him as we view him stretched upon the ground by the hatred of mankind at the foot of his own altar of sacrifice, pouring out his blood. We read of Abel’ s blood, in the New Testament, that it speaks. “He being dead yet speaks.” “The Lord said unto Cain, The voice of thy brother’s blood cries unto me from the ground.” Herein we have a blessed type of the Lord: his blood had a mighty tongue, and the import of its prevailing cry is not vengeance but mercy.