I AM the Good Shepherd

10 min readFebruary 16, 2022


Christ , gospel , I AM
Jeff segoviaBy: Jeff Segovia
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It is a recurring theme in the Gospel of John that the Lord Jesus Christ uses different imageries or word pictures to tell people about who He is. In John 6 we find the Lord claiming to be the Bread of Life (John 6:35). Later in John 8 we find the Lord to be the Light of the world (John 8:12). Before speaking about Him being the Good Shepherd, He spoke of Himself as the Door of the sheep (John 10:7). Then later in verse 11 of the 10th chapter of John’s gospel, we find that the Lord claims to be the Good Shepherd.

The Lord Jesus Christ used the imagery of a shepherd during His discourse with the Jews. He used this imagery not only because shepherding is relatable for the Jews for it is a common occupation in Israel but more importantly because God is oftentimes portrayed as the shepherd of His people. God is the Shepherd of Israel and this truth is apparent in the Old Testament writings:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalms 23:1)

Save Your people, And bless Your inheritance; Shepherd them also, And bless Your inheritance; Shepherd them also, And bear them up forever. (Psalms 28:9)

He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young. (Isaiah 40:11)

For thus says the Lord GOD: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day." (Ezekiel 34:11–12)

Now, we see the Lord Jesus Christ speaking of Himself as the Good Shepherd.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. (John 10:11)

Essentially, the Lord Jesus Christ is saying that He is God. He is the God-Man. He is truly Man and truly God. He is not 50% Man and 50% God. He is both 100% Man and 100% God at the same time. He is the same God who spoke to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3. He is the one who said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM…Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you. (Exodus 3:14)”.

The False Shepherds

Jesus is contrasting Himself with the Jewish leaders whom He describes as thieves and robbers (John 10:1) and strangers (John 10:5). The Jewish leaders are the false shepherds during the time of Jesus. They bring with them the Mosaic Law mixed with their man-made traditions and doctrines thereby creating a false religion that serves as a heavy yoke for the Israelites. In Ezekiel 34, there’s a prophecy concerning the false shepherds of Israel:

And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So, they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.” (Ezekiel 34:1–6)

The false shepherds are the irresponsible, self-centered, religionist, legalist, and traditionist leaders of Israel. The Lord is against such leaders.

Jesus Christ: The Good Shepherd

Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd of His own sheep. He is the One who was moved with compassion for the multitudes who were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd (Matt. 9:36). He is the one whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light from whom we can find rest (Matt. 11:28). He is the fulfillment of the prophecy in Ezekiel 34:

For thus says the Lord GOD: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. (Ezekiel 34:11–12)

He fulfilled this prophecy by becoming the incarnate Son of God who came here on earth “to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10)”. He is the Good Shepherd who truly cares for His own sheep.

Now, what does it mean for the Lord Jesus Christ to be the Good Shepherd? When we hear the sentence “the LORD is my Shepherd”, the famous Psalm 23 immediately comes to mind. Because of this, we think of comfort in Christ, how He cares for us, how He leads us. Those things are indeed true and worth-knowing. But there’s so much more to Christ being the Good Shepherd.

The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the Sheep

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep(John 10:11)

The Lord Himself defines what it means for Him to be the Good Shepherd. It is plainly told by the Lord that the Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep. Unlike a hireling who does not own the sheep and therefore has no care for the sheep, the Good Shepherd does not leave the sheep and does not flee for His own life. The good shepherd does not flee for His own life but rather gives His own life for the sheep. He is the Shepherd Savior:

Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, Against the Man who is My Companion,” Says the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered; Then I will turn My hand against the little ones. (Zechariah 13:7)

Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered." (Matthew 26:31)

Christ became the front liner. He was the one stricken while being left alone. While we are like sheep who have gone astray and turned to our own way, the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). He took upon Himself the full weight of the sheep’s sins thus receiving the full weight of God’s holy wrath upon Himself at the cross. For this purpose, He came: “to give His life as a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28)”.

This is a deep demonstration of His love for His own sheep. Indeed, there is no greater love than what the Good Shepherd has demonstrated to us:

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. (John 15:13)

And this is how we know what love really is:

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16)

Here we can see that the Lord’s love for His own sheep goes beyond His willingness to bless us with what we need. It is far-reaching that what He gave us is His own life — the life that had been lived in perfection. The Good Shepherd is good not only because He sought us but also because He saved us by dying on the cross for us.

The Good Shepherd knows His Own

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. (John 10:14)

The Good Shepherd knows His very own. He knows His own not only in the cognitive sense but also in the saving (salvific) sense. He knows them not because they lived in the past, living in the present, or will live in the future. He knows them because they are chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). He knows His own that He knows whom He must bring out of the fold of false religions and world systems. He knows His own that He is so certain who to seek in the wilderness. He knows His own so much that He can identify if someone is lost. His knowledge of His own is so important because these are the ones for whom He must die.

The Good Shepherd did not seek for random people. He sought for specific sheep which are His very own. Jesus Himself said that He came to “give His life as a ransom for many. (Matt. 20:28)”. The word “many” doesn’t imply “all”. The word “many” means a certain elect group of people and for this group alone He died. This group is collectively known as the “sheep” in this context.

The sheep are the ones whom the Father gives to Christ (John 6:37). These people will surely come to Christ because the Father will draw them to Him (John 6:44). The Lord Jesus Christ knows His own that when His sheep are gathered together with the goats, He knows how to divide the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:32).

The Good Shepherd is known by His Own

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. (John 10:14)

The sheep might be temporarily lost but they will surely be found by the Shepherd. By the effectual call of the Good Shepherd, they will surely respond for they know His voice. The sheep know their Shepherd’s voice because only Him knows their name and calls them by it (John 10:27). The sheep of the Lord Jesus Christ know His voice because His voice is unique and distinct from the stranger’s voice. When the Shepherd calls, only the sheep will respond because they are the only ones who are made able and willing to respond to that call.

To be known by the Lord and to be given the great privilege of knowing Him is such a great blessing indeed! The sheep then must be grateful that the Lord Jesus Christ, on the last day, will not tell them, “I never knew you” but will joyfully receive them to glory.


The Good Shepherd is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one who calls His own and is followed by His own. He willingly gave His life for His own sheep alone. He knows His own and is known by His own for to them He chose to reveal Himself.

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