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Who is Jesus?
A Shepherd
Part XIV of the Series. Bible study on Jesus as a Shepherd.

In this series we're talking about the names and descriptive phrases identifying Jesus. Thus far we've talked about Jesus as God, Lord, Savior, Christ, Creator, the Word, the Son of God, the life, the Light, the Lamb of God, the Firstborn, an Author, and the propitiation for our sins.

In this article, we talk about Jesus as a Shepherd.

Jesus: The Good Shepherd
Jesus tells the people about Himself and His ministry in John 10.

One of the figures of speech He uses is that He's the good shepherd (Jn. 10:11, 14).

Jesus Protects His Sheep
One difference between Jesus and other shepherds is that He protects His sheep, even at the expense of His own life.

  • "'I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them'" (Jn. 10:11-12).

Jesus doesn't flee to save His own life, but confronts danger to save His sheep, because He's concerned for the sheep. Speaking of other shepherds, He says:

  • "'He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep'" (Jn. 10:13).

Jesus also expresses His concern for His sheep in the parable of the lost sheep, in which a man lost one of a hundred sheep. He left the ninety-nine and looked for the one that was lost. When he found the lost sheep, he laid it on his shoulders, rejoicing, and brought it back home. Then he called his friends and neighbors, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost" (Lk. 15:3-6)!

Jesus Knows His Sheep -- They Know Him
Jesus knows us, His sheep, and we know Him (Jn. 10:14).

Jesus knows we're His sheep because He knows our hearts (Acts 1:24; Rev. 2:23). Therefore He leads us, as a shepherd leads his sheep (Jn. 10:3-4).

We, on the other hand, know Jesus because we keep His commandments (1 Jn. 2:3). We hear His voice and follow Him, rejecting the false shepherds in the world (Jn. 10:3-5).

Jesus Laid Down His Life For His Sheep
Jesus is the good shepherd because He laid down His life for us, His sheep.

  • "'I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep'" (Jn. 10:11).
  • "'I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep'" (Jn. 10:14-15).
  • "'For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again'" (Jn. 10:17).

Laying down His life was the ultimate sacrifice Jesus could make for us, unlike the hired hand who fled to save his own life (Jn. 10:13).

  • "'No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father'" (Jn. 10:18).

Today, Jesus asks us to sacrifice our lives in return. Not by permitting ourselves to be crucified on a cross, but by serving God faithfully as His disciple (Rom. 12:1-2).

Jesus: The Great Shepherd
In Hebrews, Jesus is called the "great Shepherd" (Heb. 13:20).

He's the great Shepherd "through the blood of the eternal covenant" (Heb. 13:20).

We enter into a relationship with Jesus as our Shepherd, when we enter into the covenant relationship that's through His blood.

As people who've been washed in Jesus' blood, we follow Him as our shepherd. We follow in His footsteps, feeding upon His word, because He's the way, the truth, the life, and the door (1 Pet. 2:2, 21; Jn. 14:6; 10:9).

Jesus: The Chief Shepherd
Peter calls Jesus the Chief Shepherd, distinguishing Him from the shepherds (elders) of local congregations (1 Pet. 5:4).

Jesus shepherds the whole flock. Elders in local congregations are accountable to Jesus, the Chief Shepherd, who'll judge them for their work with the flock (Heb. 13:17). Once again, this demonstrates that neither a man, nor a human institution exists between local elders and Jesus Christ, regarding authority over a local congregation.

In the end, Jesus as Chief Shepherd will reward all the faithful of His flock.

  • "And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory" (1 Pet. 5:4).

If you are a faithful Christian, following Jesus Christ, the Chief Shepherd, you'll receive an eternal reward of unfading glory.

To be continued.