John 10:11 are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It says, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”  The thought of a shepherd and his sheep would be very familiar to those the Lord was speaking to for the keeping of sheep was a big part of the history of Israel.  The first shepherd mentioned in the Bible was Abel, the son of Adam and Eve.  We read in Genesis 4:2, “And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a KEEPER OF SHEEP, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.”  Moses was a shepherd as we read in Exodus 3:1, “Now Moses KEPT THE FLOCK of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.”  Probably one of the most well-known shepherds in the Bible was David.  1 Samuel 17:34 says, “And David said unto Saul, Thy servant KEPT HIS FATHER’S SHEEP…” 

In speaking of Himself as a shepherd, the Lord reckons those who follow Him as His sheep.  He said in Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep…”  Even King David stated in Psalm 23:1, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”  A shepherd is one who abides with, provides for, feeds, and defends his sheep.  In taking care of his sheep, David says, “…there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.” (1 Samuel 17:34-35). 

As a shepherd, David KILLED to protect and provide for his sheep.  As the ‘good shepherd’, the Lord Jesus DIED to protect and provide for His sheep.  It was the Lord’s death on Calvary that gives life to His sheep.  He goes on to say in John 10:17-18, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”  Even as the Father “gave His only begotten Son,” the Lord Jesus gave His life to pay our sin debt and to make us His own.  We read in Philippians 2:8 that the Lord Jesus, “…humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”  He was obedient to His Father’s will and “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14). 

In Psalm 23, the Lord Jesus is the shepherd.

In John 10:11, the Lord Jesus is the good shepherd.

In Hebrews 13:20, the Lord Jesus is the great shepherd.

In 1 Peter 5:4, the Lord Jesus is the chief shepherd.

I encourage you to consider each of these portions to understand how the Lord fulfills His role as the shepherd, the good shepherd, the great shepherd, and the chief shepherd. (426.2)