I am the Good Shepherd


“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 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. 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.” John 10:11-15

In the last post, we looked at Jesus as the gate for the sheep. The one through whom we enter into fullness of life, and eternal life. Then almost in the same breath in John chapter 10, Jesus changes metaphor to say that he’s not only the gate, but he is also the good shepherd.

He’s utterly good, and he’s always with you.

There’s plenty of good grazing around. I would say that for Ali and me, it felt like we were in a fairly sweet spot. We certainly had frustrations and challenges, but there was money to live on, a good home, healthy children and some great friendships forming after moving to a new town. Good grazing can disappear almost overnight though – jobs can evaporate, health can escape you, calamity has a way of finding us seemingly out of the blue.

But while money and position and career and health and everything else can be plucked from you at random, no one can ever take the shepherd away from you. He knows his sheep and his sheep know his voice. He’ll never go so far ahead that you can’t follow, he’ll never leave you behind. A true shepherd cares for the whole flock. He doesn’t run when danger threatens the sheep – he puts his own life in harm’s way to defend them. Jesus is so utterly committed to you that he willingly gave up his life on the cross to bring you out of death and into eternal life with him. He laid down his life for the sheep.

He loves you. He’s with you. He’s proven it beyond question at the cross, and because he came back from the dead he now always lives to lead and to guard and to guide you through every field and valley and pit that you find yourself in. A loving, invincible, immortal, committed, good shepherd.

As the gate for the sheep, Jesus grants you access into the field that puts all other fields to shame. But the reason that field is so worthwhile is entirely because Jesus the good shepherd is there with you. The reason that the second field beyond this life is so sweet is because Jesus is there. There’s a day coming when the shepherd will return in glory – when every field will be made new, every acre of the whole of creation will be a paradise beyond compare, and the reason it’s so beautiful is because the shepherd will be there with us.

It says in Isaiah 53 that we all like sheep have gone astray – we’re all in need of a shepherd. Come and put yourself in the care of the one truly good shepherd. Come and discover that he can lead you by still waters even when your world’s in a spin. That he’ll let you lie down in green pastures when you can’t find rest. That he can restore your soul. Come and see how he can lead you in the right paths so your foot doesn’t slip. See how, even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death you need fear no evil if he is with you.

Come and follow him – and in following you will find that, even though all else might be stripped away, you are able to say, ‘Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.’

Lead on, good shepherd. Lead on.