When Jesus claims to be a shepherd, He’s saying two things:
- He’s leading God’s people. He’s the one who cares for us.
- We are the sheep
Ezekiel 34:1-23 paints the picture of us as sheep in need of a good shepherd to save us. Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Ezekiel 34:22-23. God has not forgotten His flock and He sent Jesus to rescue and care for His sheep.
Three ways that Jesus is our Good Shepherd:
1. Jesus gathers God’s people (John 10:1-6)
Jesus fulfills the prophecy to draw God’s people back to Himself. Jesus knows and calls each of us (His sheep) by name. He knows everything about us. We follow Jesus because we are His sheep.
2. Jesus protects God’s people (John 10:7-10)
Jesus isn’t just the shepherd; He’s also the door of the sheep. Jesus protects us from the destruction of sin and gives us joy. In Jesus, regardless of circumstances, we can find unshakable joy and abundant life. The Good Shepherd promises that the closer we walk with Him and more intimately we follow Him, the greater our joy will be.
3. Jesus dies for God’s people (John 10:11-18)
When the sheep are in imminent danger, our Good Shepherd lays down His life. A hired hand loves his own life more than he loves the sheep. Jesus isn’t a hired hand. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. The sheep belong to Him and He loves them more than He loves His own life. That’s why He lays down His life for the sheep. When He sees the enemy coming, He doesn’t run; He steps in front of the sheep.
Who are you following? You are following a shepherd. We all are. We are all sheep. The question isn’t whether or not you’re following a shepherd, it’s whether or not you are following the Good Shepherd.