John 10:11 11 “I am the good shepherd.”
Titles tell us about who people are. Many are exaggerated, some are just false, some are meaningless.
Ridiculous human titles:
- Jean-Baptiste de la Salle Bokassa aka: Bokassa 1, Emperor of Central Africa by the will of the Central African people, united within the national political party, the MESAN, Sovereign Knight Grand Cordon with Collar of the Imperial order of Bokassa, President for Life and Full General
- Kim Il Sung, who currently holds the titles of Eternal President of the Republic, Eternal General Secretary of the Workers’ Party and Eternal leader of Juche Korea.
- Idi Amin Dada Oumee (c. 1925–1979): His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, CBE, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.
The Bible refers to Jesus Christ by many titles.
- He is called the Amen (Rev. 3:14; cf. 2 Cor. 1:20),
- the Alpha and the Omega (Rev. 22:13),
- the Advocate (1 John 2:1),
- the Apostle (Heb. 3:1),
- the Author and Perfecter of faith (Heb. 12:2),
- the Author of salvation (Heb. 2:10),
- the Beginning (source, origin) of the creation of God (Rev. 3:14),
- the Branch (Jer. 23:5),
- the Bread of Life (John 6:35),
- the Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20),
- the Consolation of Israel (Luke 2:25),
- the Counselor (Isa. 9:6),
- the Deliverer (Rom. 11:26),
- the Door of the sheep (John 10:7),
- Eternal Father (Isa. 9:6),
- the Faithful witness (Rev. 1:5),
- the First and the Last (Rev. 1:17)
- the Firstborn of the dead (Rev. 1:5) and over all creation (Col. 1:15)
- the Forerunner (Heb. 6:20)
- the Great High Priest (Heb. 4:14)
- God blessed forever (Rom. 9:5)
- the Guardian of souls (1 Peter 2:25)
- the Head of the church (Col. 1:18)
- the Holy One of God (John 6:69)
- I AM (John 8:58)
- Immanuel (Isa. 7:14)
- the King of Israel (John 1:49; cf. Zech. 9:9)
- King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15)
- the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45)
- the Lamb of God (John 1:29)
- the Light of the World (John 8:12)
- the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5)
- Lord (John 13:13)
- the Lord of Glory (1 Cor. 2:8)
- the Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5)
- the Messenger of the covenant (Mal. 3:1)
- the Messiah (John 1:41; 4:25–26)
- the Mighty God (Isa. 9:6)
- the Morning Star (Rev. 22:16)
- the Only Begotten (Unique One) from the Father (John 1:14)
- our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7)
- the Prince of life (Acts 3:15)
- the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6)
- the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)
- the Righteous One (Acts 7:52)
- the Rock (1 Cor. 10:4)
- the Root and Descendant of David (Rev. 22:16)
- the Root of Jesse (Isa. 11:10)
- the Ruler in Israel (Mic. 5:2; Matt. 2:6)
- the Ruler of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5)
- Savior (Luke 2:11; Titus 1:4)
- the Servant (Isa. 42:1)
- Shiloh (Gen. 49:10)
- the Son of the Blessed One (Mark 14:61)
- the Son of David (Matt. 12:23; 21:9)
- the Son of God (Luke 1:35)
- the Son of Man (John 5:27);
- the Son of the Most High (Luke 1:32)
- the Sun of Righteousness (Mal. 4:2)
- the Sunrise from on high (Luke 1:78)
- the True God (1 John 5:20)
- the True Vine (John 15:1)
- the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6),
- the Word (John 1:1, 14),
- the Word of God (Rev. 19:13),
- and the Word of Life (1 John 1:1).
But perhaps His most endearing and intimate title is that of Shepherd.
Nowhere in all of Scripture is Jesus Christ more clearly portrayed as the Shepherd of His people than in the tenth chapter of John’s gospel.
Why the image of the shepherd?
Shepherding was, and still is to a certain extent, a very common occupation for those in the Middle East.
As we look at the characteristics of a good shepherd it will become clear that God chose this motif at least in part because His people are so apt to act like sheep.
- Isaiah 53:6 (ESV) —6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Sheep have no sense of direction
- 1 Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
Sheep blindly follow what the others are doing
- 1 Corinthians 11:1-2 ESV Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.
Sheep are defenseless
- 2 Samuel 22:3 (ESV) —3 my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence.
We are much the same way.
Sheep can’t get up without help
- Psalm 43:5 (ESV) —5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
Sheep are emotional and recognize the Shepherd’s voice
Since they are emotional, they also have the ability to build friendships with other sheep and stick up for each other when in a fight.
Sheep are not meant to carry burdens
This is why God compares us to sheep in the Bible. We were not meant to carry our burdens.
- Cast your burdens on the Lord, and He will sustain you (Psalm 55:22).
- 1 Peter 5:6–7 (ESV) —6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
- Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
- Psalm 68:19-20 The Lord deserves praise! Day after day he carries our burden, the God who delivers us. Our God is a God who delivers; the Lord, the sovereign Lord, can rescue from death.
Sheep will settle for less
- God compares us to sheep in the Bible because we don’t always know what is good for us.
- We settle for far less than what God would have for us because of our sin and/or our lack of KNOWING what God has for us
Sheep are valuable
God compares us to sheep in the Bible because He views us as priceless.
- John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
- Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
- Psalm 139:13-16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
- Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- 1 John 3:1a “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
Sheep cannot care for themselves when wounded and are susceptible to injury and disease and need care
Often we are brokenhearted and need His healing, but we won’t let Him touch us.
- This is why God compares us to sheep in the Bible.
- “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds” (Psalms 147:3).
- “Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” ~ Jeremiah 17:14
- “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10
Sheep are innocent
We are to be innocent as lambs. Pure and righteous.
Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
- Not goats who are independent, strong-willed, and destructive.
- And He’ll “separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:32).
The Characteristics of a Good Shepherd
The focus of a good shepherd was to be on his flock–their provision, guidance and safety.
The good shepherd provides nourishment and refreshment for his sheep.
Psalm 23:1–3 (ESV) —1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
The good shepherd is sacrificial.
The shepherd is also involved enough with his flock that they know his voice.
In summary, the good shepherd showed great concern for his sheep.
- He provided for them in terms of nourishment and rest.
- He guided them, leading the way.
- He was intimately involved with the flock and concerned for the safety of each individual.
- He was willing to sacrifice his own comfort, even his own life, for the sake of his sheep.
Understanding the level of love, commitment and sacrifice expended by the shepherd on behalf of the sheep not only tells us
- How much Jesus loves us
- But also raises the bar for those who seek to lead in the church.
John 10 portray Jesus as “The Shepherd” and as we come to a fuller understanding of the common description of Jesus, we understand more about HIM and US!