Jesus is the good shepherd. Jesus is not a hired hand. Jesus sacrifices Himself for us. Jesus is with me no matter what.
I am a sheep. I need protection. I wander away and get lost. Jesus is so good to me.
Jesus protects me and finds when I am lost. Jesus does anything necessary to give me life and keep me alive.
By referring to Himself as the True Shepherd, Jesus was invoking imagery that would have been familiar to His hearers. He used the symbols of sheep and their shepherd several times, referring to Himself as not only the “True” Shepherd, but the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), and the Door of the sheep (John 10:7). The three declarations in John 10 present a complete picture of the Lord who is our Shepherd (Psalm 23).
“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He’s only in it for the money. The sheep don’t matter to him.” | John 10:11-13
As a sheep, I am a skittish animal and “spook” easily. Because sheep knew the shepherd’s voice, they would calm down and follow him and nobody but him. Several flocks can mix together, and when the flocks’ true shepherd speaks, they separate and follow him.
If a thief comes, the sheep will not follow him because they do not know his voice. At night the shepherd lies down at the gate to the pen, to give his life if necessary to protect his flock. And the thief can only climb in over the fence because the shepherd is guarding the gate. Jesus is the True Shepherd to the sheep (true believers) who are His.
I know Him, I recognize His voice, and I follow only Him (John 10:27–28).
It should be understood that Jesus is “the” good shepherd, not simply “a” good shepherd, as others may be, but He is unique in character (Psalm 23; Zechariah 13:7; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; 1 Peter 5:4).
The Greek word kalos, translated “good,” describes that which is noble, wholesome, good, and beautiful, in contrast to that which is wicked, mean, foul, and unlovely. It signifies not only that which is good inwardly — character — but also that which is attractive outwardly. It is an innate goodness.
In using the phrase “the good shepherd,” Jesus is referencing His inherent goodness, His righteousness, and His beauty. As shepherd of the sheep, He is the one who protects, guides, and nurtures His flock. How stunning is Jesus. I am in awe.