Good Shepherd


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The Parable of the Good Shepherd

    I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all of his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. -- John 10:1-5

    I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns 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. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

    I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep. 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. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life - only to take it up again. 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. -- John 10:11-18

The parable of the good shepherd is a continuation of a related parable of the shepherd and his flock, which begins with the first verse of Chapter 10 of John’s gospel, where Jesus describes himself as the shepherd’s gate.

When the Pharisees, to whom he was speaking, didn’t understand him, he first extrapolates on the parable of himself as the gate, then describes himself, here, as the good shepherd.

Of the many titles that are applied to the Lord throughout the Scriptures, a common theme is to speak of him as a shepherd, the body of believers his flock.

The Hebrew prophets spoke of the Messiah in such a manner, as can be seen in Isaiah and elsewhere. Christ also spoke of himself as shepherd, as in the parable of the lost sheep. The Apostle Paul speaks of him as the “great Shepherd” in his epistle to the Hebrews, and Peter speaks of him as the “Chief Shepherd” in 1 Peter 5:4

Jesus Christ as the shepherd

  • By the Father’s appointment
    • The Father is represented as knowing him as the Shepherd, as opposed to a hireling.
  • By choice
    • Ready to hear and to conform with the Father’s will
    • As ready to come as the Father was to send him

The flock of Christ

  • Redeemed
  • Restored
  • United
  • Recognized by Christ
  • Knowing Christ
  • Recognize the voice of Christ
  • Obey the commands of Christ
  • Imitate the example of Christ

Application of the parable

  • How interesting and delightful the character of Christ as a shepherd
  • How lovely and beautiful the character of his flock
    • Called
    • Justified
    • Sanctified
  • Are we his sheep?

Suggested reading

Overview of Bible Study