The Good Shepherd

Read This Week: John 10

I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the Shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good Shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. – John 10:11-15 NIV

From the Psalmist to the beautiful prose of John, one of the most powerful and endearing metaphors and depictions of God is that of the Good Shepherd. This symbolism of a shepherd leading, caring for, protecting, and guiding his sheep is as compelling as it is fitting for the relationship we enjoy with Father God through Christ. As Jesus communicates in this chapter, the imagery of the Shepherd’s relationship to His sheep is central and teaches us wonderful truths about His heart, His plan, and His love for us.

First, Jesus presents Himself as the Shepherd and gatekeeper. He keeps watch over the lives of the sheep and tends to their coming and going. He ensures they find suitable pastures that give them sustenance and vitality, and He guides their way into eternal life. Verses 7 and 9 say I am the gate for the sheep; whoever enters through me will be saved. This provision is what the Lord has done and does for us. He watches over us in our daily activities and, by His Holy Spirit, leads us on our mission and to the things and people that bring joy, peace, and good energy. Ultimately, Jesus is our way to eternal salvation and the glorious reality of Heaven.

Then, we see the Shepherd as a protector. He would give his life for the very sheep that He watches over. He is willing to fight the most significant threats and beat back the most daunting adversaries. He defends the sheep from harm and keeps them safe from anything that will come against their well-being. Jesus says in verses 11-12 that the good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the Shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. The Lord is not our hired hand. He doesn’t run away when things get difficult or challenging in our lives. Christ doesn’t shy away from the enemy or the things of this world that seek to harm us. He purchased and owned us by laying his life down on the cross. He is our protector.

The Shepherd is a caregiver. John 10 makes it clear that one of the most endearing attributes of the Shepherd is that He knows His sheep. He is intimately aware of their needs and how to meet them. He is so in tune with His sheep that they also know Him and His heart. The sheep trust Him and follow Him because they know He cares. Verse 14 reminds us that Jesus knows His sheep and His sheep know Him. It is a beautiful truth to know that God is our caregiver and still sees and remembers us in His majesty, sovereignty, and supremacy. He knows our name and cares for our hearts and souls like no one else. We know His voice and are familiar with His loving arms.

Finally, we understand the Shepherd as a Father. Jesus parallels His own life and eternal relationship with Father God with that of His relationship with His sheep. The intimacy and connection He shares with God are translated through His grace, mercy, and love to those who will call on His name. The Shepherd, through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, knows us and makes us His own. We are not only His sheep being led to and from His plentiful pastures, but we are His children being nurtured, changed, and prepared for His glorious inheritance. Christ said, Just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father, I lay down my life for the sheep. We are so thankful and blessed that He did. He is truly The Good Shepherd.


  1. Javaid Ahmed on November 1, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    God focused my attention on John 10:37-38.

    37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father.
    38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

    He said to me on this “You are wired to need proof in order to believe. This is on purpose. It is what makes faith so powerful. No matter what proof you are shown, your mind will still allow you to believe the doubt it has cast; this is human nature. Faith, however, requires strength, courage, passion, and effort. I appreciate all of that you put forth.”

    To me this means that it is up to us to bolster our faith and continue to work hard to let our hearts know God and trust His love for us. It does get easier as we work our spiritual muscle and as time goes by, less and less doubt tends to creep in. This is not by accident but by becoming closer with God.

    • Ken on November 6, 2022 at 12:38 pm

      Thanks for that, Javaid. I’ve found that when you spend time with God, day by day, you learn to trust in the Lord, seeing His good works in your life. It is easy to believe when you have an experiential, interconnected life with God.

  2. Heidi on November 5, 2022 at 9:29 am

    John 10:9 I am the Door; anyone who enters through Me will be saved [and will live forever], and will go in and out [freely], and find pasture (spiritual security).
    11 [c]I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd [d]lays down His [own] life for the sheep.

    God was saying to me
    When you gave your life to Jesus you walked through through the door, entered into the family.
    you are saved, Jesus came and layed down His life for you.
    He is your shepherd, you never have to worry about anything because we love you and will lead continue to lead you in the right direction.

    what this means to me is I’m so thankful to be apart of the family, God has blessed me with Jesus as my example, my Shepard, my everything and I can count on Him to help me, lead me in the right direction and I’m thankful for all the people in my life who truly love God and is always here for me no matter what and they see the good.
    Thank you God

  3. alma on November 6, 2022 at 1:29 am

    This week I got a song in John chapter 10
    Trust in me
    We praise you we praise you we are praising you our Lord we believe we Believe in You you’re our Shepherd we are your sheep trusting believing in the truth we know your voice we hear you spiritually we hear you through others we know when to run to run when it’s not of you we praise you we praise you we are praising you are Lord
    When we believe in our Lord we have eternal Life with him. I love talking and listening having a relationship with with our Lord. Just knowing he’s there for me through all things gives me Joy.

    • Ken on November 6, 2022 at 12:40 pm

      The good life with God comes from trusting our Good Shepard every day. I see you, Alma doing that. You are a great inspiration to me on how to live your life trusting God.

  4. reachchurch on November 6, 2022 at 12:32 pm

    This Week in the Life: John 10

    For the best experience, we suggest you listen to the first song, then the message, and then the second song.

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