The Good Shepherd

December 6, 2020

The Good Shepherd – John 10:11

Dr. Larry S. Lightner

Read Psalm 23; Luke 15:1-7; John 10:1-18

Often as we read the Old Testament and the New Testament we run across descriptions and terms that seem rather foreign to our thinking. This is often because of cultural setting, the time of the writings, and because of the audience. Words mean things, and the audience wants language that is in keeping with their understanding. That leads to many translators and commentators adjusting the language to give verbiage that matches the current trends of language. However, great care must be given to make sure the current audience understands the point of the conversation.

Jesus’ words would have made great sense to most of the hearers of His day. Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, is a phrase His audience would have understood. They would have pictured Jesus as a shabby, even perhaps smelly shepherd that vested His life in His flocks. To be a good shepherd required dedicated work in a personal work ethic, and in a professional way to speak to one’s focus upon his duties.

Once we get the picture of a good shepherd, we see how the shepherd cares for his sheep. He looks for pastures with great feeding capacity; nutrition is important to remain healthy. He cares for their medical care, anointing their wounds with oil for healing. He protects the sheep from storms and cold, and from the predators. He is more than a hired servant; he cares for and loves His sheep.

A good shepherd knows his sheep. He names them and knows their idiosyncrasies. He observes their behavior, being aware if they should wander. He provides for the flock; yet provides for the individual members of the flock.

A good shepherd leads his sheep. He does not just let them go their own way. He knows the danger ahead. He remains close to be instant in response. The distinctive mark of a good shepherd is that he is willing to lay down his life for his sheep. When danger appears, he does not run off, but confronts the threats before it comes upon his sheep.

That is a picture of our Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. He always has our interest at heart. He is fully committed, fully loving, and caring. He knows us, leads us, and has laid down His life for our sakes.

Jesus did not choose a selfish existence apart from our dangers in life. He willingly paid the full price to protect us for eternity. Jesus chose death to offer us life. That is how much He loves you and me.

That is the Good Shepherd

Life Application

Sometimes—in fact, most times—we try to face our difficulties alone. Yet that is incorrect. Jesus is fully aware of our every moment and situation of life. We may not always sense His presence, but He is always there. He does not leave us, nor does He leave us to flounder amidst the dangers, decisions, and dilemmas of life.

He is not difficult to speak with. He desires our communication, our relationship. He knows what each of us are facing. He cares. He never leaves our side. He leads us. He loves us. He will protect us now and through eternity for He has bought us with His own life.


  1. Pray with thanksgiving for being a part of the Good Shepherd’s flock.
  2. Pray that you might pattern your life so that you would lay down your desires to be a ministering servant to those You love.

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

December 6, 2020

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