Why did Jesus say “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11)?
In John 10:11 Jesus states “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
What did Jesus mean when He said “I am the Good Shepherd”? This declaration by Jesus is one of the seven “I AM” statements of Jesus Christ.
The relationship between Jesus Christ and His true followers can be likened to the relationship between a shepherd and his flock.
A shepherd’s role is to lead, protect, feed and tend to sick or wounded sheep. When any sheep gets lost a good shepherd will do whatever he can to search for the missing sheep because his duty is to care for every single sheep in his flock.
Jesus does not refer to Himself as just any ordinary shepherd. Instead Christ refers to Himself the Good Shepherd to denote that He is an excellent and perfect Shepherd. Christ is emphasizing His flawless qualities at the almighty and all-loving Shepherd of His flock.
What are the characteristics of the Good Shepherd and how does He relate with His sheep?
Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd because of the following reasons
1. The Good Shepherd will sacrifice His life so save His sheep from all kinds of danger. As a Shepherd, Jesus is dedicated to His sheep to the point that He gave His life on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and deliver us from eternal punishment.
(John 10:11 – “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”)
2. Unlike a hired person, the Good Shepherd cares for His sheep to the extent that He will protect His sheep from wolves. A hired hand works for his own personal benefit rather than the benefit of the sheep. A hired hand works for financial benefit and will only appear to care for the sheep if there is financial gain or if his life and self-preservation is not at risk.
However in contrast Jesus the Good Shepherd will risk everything to protect His sheep and save them from the wolves.
John 10:12-13 – He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
3. The Good Shepherd intimately knows and recognizes His own sheep. As the Good Shepherd He is able to tell the difference between the real sheep and the impostors or hypocrites. So Jesus knows His true followers and He cannot be fooled or deceived by imposters or wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Furthermore the true followers of Christ are people who also intimately have a relationship with Jesus.
Because of intimacy in relationship, true Christ followers can tell the difference between a false christ and the Good Shepherd.
John 10:14 – I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me,
4. The Good Shepherd’s voice is easily recognized by His own sheep. When the shepherd speaks, his sheep will recognize his voice and they will not follow any other voice except for their shepherd.
In a world filled with many false teachers who speak false doctrines, it is only the true followers of Christ who will recognize the voice of Christ and not the voice of an imposter.
Many wolves in sheep’s clothing will try to imitate the Good Shepherd, but they will fail to sway His sheep because His sheep intimately know and follow the voice of the Lord.
John 10:27 – My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
5. The Good Shepherd searches for the lost sheep. Whenever His sheep stray away from the flock, the Good Shepherd will look for that sheep until he finds it – even if it is only one sheep that is lost. Jesus as the Good Shepherd is able to find us whenever we stray.
Luke 15:4-5 – What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
In John 10:16 Jesus says “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. So there will be one flock, one Shepherd.”
In this Scripture Jesus is saying there are still people in the world who are not yet saved who still need to hear the Gospel so that they can join His flock or His one true Church. So Jesus is speaking about the universal Church and that He alone is ultimately the one true Good Shepherd who leads His entire Church.
Every true authentic Christian believer from all over the world and from different denominations are part of the one Church that Jesus is building with Christ as its Shepherd.
Without Jesus Christ as our Shepherd, we lack direction and protection in our lives. Therefore as an individual, a family, or the Church, we all need Jesus the Good Shepherd to lead us, feed us, nurture us and protect us.
DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST?
1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.
2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to change your mind about sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.
3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.
4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
Through faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God
Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?
We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.
PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.
“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
I repent of all of my sins and I ask You to cleanse me Jesus.
Thank You for forgiving my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”
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