I Am the Good Shepherd

John 10:1-21

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

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.”

19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”

21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon.Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

I Am the Good Shepherd

The imagery of sheep, shepherd, and sheepfold was a central part of Israel’s heritage—both as a Bedouin people and, more significantly, as the people of God (Psalm 23). By choosing this symbol, Jesus accomplished two things. He drew a strong contrast between himself and the shepherds of Israel. He also declared himself to be the messianic Shepherd for whom Israel hoped (Zech. 13:7–9).

The sheepfold was commonly attached to the shepherd’s home. Thus, to enter the sheepfold was to come home. As the “door of the sheep,” Jesus is the only means of coming home to God—of becoming a member of the household of faith. Jesus is the merciful Shepherd who provides shelter, security, and pasture for his beloved sheep. The shepherds who preceded him in Israel’s history were mercenaries—fleeing the sheep quickly when under threat; and fleecing the sheep regularly for personal gain.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd, whose “goodness” cannot be overstated. Like David, the shepherd-king, Jesus risks his life to care for his sheep (cf. 1 Sam. 17:34–37). He knows his flock by name, and each of his sheep recognize and love his voice. Though the gospel is not a private story, it is most definitely a personal one. Jesus delights in his whole flock, and in each one of his sheep. Jesus’ flock and sheepfold is enormous, exceeding the borders of Israel. He has come for lost sheep from every tribe, language, people, and nation (Rev. 5:9).

But as the promised King, the greater David, Jesus literally laid down his life for the sheep on the cross. What a glorious paradox: The Good Shepherd became the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. Even throughout eternity, Jesus will be known as the Lamb who shepherds his people and guides them to “springs of living water” (Rev. 7:17).

*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.