“I am the Good Shepherd:” John 10:11
A shepherd is single minded. He tends to the sheep and their every need. If they get sick, he nurses them back to health. If they get lost, he chases after them to bring them back. If they are threatened, he protects them. He brings them into shelter from the elements, from the cold of winter, from the heavy rains, and leads them out to green pastures and clean waters. The sheep are his all consuming focus.
So, it is with God. Jesus proclaims from His very lips that He is “the Good Shepherd.” That being so, He is saying that He cares for us and that we are His passion, His all consuming focus. Sure there are many things on God’s plate, but He is an infinite Spirit and all of those things that He has going on are like nothing to Him. He looks down on every one of us with love and compassion, and He always has. King David spoke of Him in this way in the Psalms.
“The Lord is My Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.” Psalm 23:1&2
The Lord Himself told the prophet Ezekiel to speak to Israel concerning the religious leadership. God referred to them as shepherds, but one who had not been properly caring for the flock. They had grown fat off of the flock, and were devouring them spiritually, leading them astray and causing them to be spread out because of their selfishness. But God informs them that that is unacceptable and He will deal with the situation Himself, in removing the flock from their care and taking them under His own.
“For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search My sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out My sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.” Ezekiel 34:11&12
The Lord goes on to then address the flock themselves, adjuring them and informing them that He is most aware of everything that has transpired and that they themselves have been partakers of the wrongdoings to the flock. Many among them were just as abusive to their brethren as the religious leadership. He says to them that He will hold them accountable, and that He will judge them against one another, but He concludes His message with hope.
“I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even My Servant David; He shall feed them, and He shall be their Shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and My Servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.” Ezekiel 34:23&24
This is important because the His Servant David is Jesus. Jesus is called the Son of David, honoring the only man in the whole of the Bible who is known as the man after God’s own heart. Jesus speaks to this very passage of scripture to tell us that the time of judgement by the Law has passed. God sent Him to us to fulfill that Law so that there would be a way for all of us to be found righteous in His eyes. He is the Good Shepherd because He is our only True Shepherd, Who will lay down His life for us, which is the second part of our opening verse, “I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.”
God’s Love is for His most cherished of creations, mankind. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image, and He loves us so much that before He even breathed the stars into existence, He knew everything about us, the hairs on our heads, the number of our heartbeats, and each and every one of our names. He had long before known every slightest detail of every single event that would transpire in our history, and He thought out the redemption plan to save us. He didn’t save the angels that rebelled, for them there is no redemption. He saved only us on that Cross, but only those of us who are willing to accept that. The words of John 3:16 are absolutely true, but can only be of personal benefit through faith in what He did, and Who He is.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
God is such a caring, loving, and omniscient (all knowing) God that He does not leave any base uncovered. Knowing how frail we are, and that our minds will chase after little details in the analogy of the Shepherd and try to confuse ourselves and one another, He compiles all of what He said through Ezekiel, in that chapter, into one simple, undeniable explanation.
“And ye My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God.” Ezekiel 34:31
He truly is the Good Shepherd, and we are His sheep. His Love is for us, and because He first loved us, we love Him. That is why our lives should become, as the apostles’, all about Him, because to God, it’s all about us, all of us. Which is why Jesus says something that ties in to all of this so beautifully. He says to His apostles, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.” (Matt 10:16) Jesus told us that we are to “teach all nations” (Matt 28:19), which means we are to be in this world for the sole purpose of spreading the gospel of peace and bringing joy to all mankind, giving glory to God in the process. There will be many who will not accept the message and will be as wolves to us, violent and destructive to our spirits, but God tells us that those people are in bondage to their sins and to spirits we cannot see that are guiding them, and we are, therefore, to keep hold of our joy and know that He has said also, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb 13:5) Our Good Shepherd is with us always, guiding us with His staff (the Cross), and watching over us, ensuring we are well cared for, in His Love.
“The Lord is My Shepherd: I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.
Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.