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Bible verses about Jesus Christ as Shepherd
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Psalm 23:1

Because our God is our Shepherd—and He is the most powerful, wise, balanced, loving, and caring Being ever—we are never going to want, that is, lack for proper management. It does not mean that we will never lack things. David himself lacked things. There were times when David did not have a home to hang his hat in, and he had to run from cave to cave to escape Saul. There were times when he was hungry and thirsty and times when he thought his life was hanging in the balance, but he always understood that what was being worked out in his life was part of the will of God.

He knew God's attention was focused on him, and he was receiving the management that he needed in his life at that time. He understood that all the events of his life were pointed toward the goal of his being in the Kingdom of God.

We may lack things, but we will never lack the best in care and management. We will have the very best in guidance and spiritual provision at any given moment. As a result of this, we have to ask ourselves several questions: Do we recognize His right to us? He died for us. He paid for us. We belong to Him. He has every right to manage our lives in the way He sees fit.

This next question is part of the first question: Do we belong to Him? It is pretty hard to belong to Him if we do not recognize His right to us. Our answer to this question will determine how we will react under His management. If we do not react in the proper way, it is probably because we do not see ourselves as really belonging to Him or recognize that He has a right to allow these things to occur in our lives.

Do we respond to His authority? Do we find freedom and fulfillment in this arrangement? Do we have a deep sense of purpose, mission, and direction as a result of the Lord being our Shepherd?

Those are things we can respond to, meditate on, and find application for in our lives. It begins with an acknowledgment that we really do belong to Him and that we really are the recipients of the very best in management and care. We sing that "He's got the whole world in His hands," but then we act as though everybody else has the best care, but not us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Psalm 23 (Part 2)


 

John 5:25

Jesus Christ's declaration is interesting because the subject directly involves a resurrection, and it is also tied to a vital process that sets the elect apart. The key words in this verse are "hear" and "dead."

We need to add a thought from Ephesians 2:1: "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins." Before God's calling, even though we were physically alive, we were spiritually dead because of sin. However, John 5:25 says that the dead "hear" His voice. Similarly, those who are spiritually dead cannot "hear" God's Word until they are called, made part of the elect, and enabled by God to hear and thus understand His Word clearly.

Another important factor appears in Hebrews 10:38: "The just shall live by faith." Also, Ephesians 2:8 says that we are "saved by grace through faith." Romans 10:17 adds, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Finally, in John 6:63, Jesus clinches the point: "The words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life."

This linkage of truths makes vitally clear the importance of the calling and election by God. His enabling of us to "hear" is what begins to sweep away the spiritual blindness that has kept us ignorant of the purpose He is working out here below. This miracle of hearing gives rise to truly effective faith. It makes God's Word truly logical and believable, making commitment in obedience to His purpose possible.

Yet, what if a person cannot "hear" what God is saying? None of these saving elements comes to pass in life because no faith is produced!

Jesus utters another awesome, humbling truth in John 10:3-4, 6, 16:

"To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice." . . . Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. . . . "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd."

He describes our calling and relationship with our Shepherd—Himself—in intimate and personal terms. "He calls them by name." He personally leads them out of their pen, a symbol of the world in which we are held captive, enslaved, and spiritually dead. Conversely, verse 6 plainly depicts the spiritual condition of the uncalled: They did not understand. God had not enabled them because He was not calling them to be a part of His purpose at that time. Thus, the miracle that opens our minds so we could "hear" was not performed on them.

Romans 8:30 adds another startling truth: "Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and who He justified, these He also glorified." Only the called are justified! Justification through repentance and the atoning blood of Jesus Christ is what permits us into the presence of God, enabling further growth to glorification in God's Kingdom!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Six)


 

John 10:1

Old Testament prophecies of the coming of the Messiah prepared people to think of Him as a Shepherd (Psalm 23; Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:11-16, 23; 37:24). In John 10:1, Jesus explains that the shepherd enters by the gate, the lawful way of going into a sheep pen as opposed to some other way. By this, He contrasts himself with false messiahs, who by deceitful claims seek to steal sheep or who presumptuously try to exert control over the people. Jesus Christ came as the legitimate Heir of the chosen seed and fulfilled the promises of the Old Testament.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Good Shepherd (Part One)


 

John 10:4

A sheep pen often held several flocks, with each flock having its own shepherd. When the time came to take his flock to its pasture, each shepherd separated his sheep from the others by making a unique call. Instead of driving them, he led them, and they followed him as one unit. The shepherd always went before them to guide them to the most beneficial pasture and to protect them from danger.

Jesus' references to the sheep are personal: "His own sheep" (verse 4), "My sheep" (verse 14), and "other sheep I have" (verse 16). Everyone is owned by the Creator God. The Father is the "Author of Creation" (Isaiah 40:28; 43:15), and the One who later became known as the Son, Jesus Christ, is the Word, through whom Creation was brought into existence and the work done (Psalm 102:25; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-19; Hebrews 1:2, 10; Revelation 4:11). As such, His sheep are very familiar to Him and bear the mark of ownership—unconditional obedience and submission.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Good Shepherd (Part One)


 

John 10:10

As the Good Shepherd, Jesus died for earth's sinners, who like sheep have gone astray. Good, as used here, means more than having goodness in a physical sense but also having an excellent nature (Exodus 33:19-20). It signifies what is morally beautiful, noble, and true (Exodus 34:6-7). Christ's use of the word in this parable implies that He perfects all godly attributes in others; He is the Good Shepherd who manifests the characteristics of perfect goodness. He guides and supports His sheep, and sacrifices Himself for them. His benevolence exceeds all others (Psalm 31:19).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Good Shepherd (Part One)


 

John 10:14

Jesus says, "I know My sheep, and am known by My own." Both the Shepherd and the sheep are aware of this, and it enables the Shepherd to lead His sheep in the best possible way, helping them to learn what He teaches and to do what He commands. Being known by and knowing the Shepherd implies that, not only do they know His voice, but they have an intimate understanding of the way He thinks and are inclined to reflect His way of doing things. Their imitation of the Shepherd becomes automatic because the sheep anticipate his will. They become one with the Shepherd, as the Shepherd is one with the Father (John 10:15, 30). Just as full knowledge exists between the Father and the Son, the Shepherd has a complete knowledge of each of His sheep.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Good Shepherd (Part Two)


 

John 10:27-28

As the Ruling Shepherd, Jesus will return to reward His under-shepherds who were faithful in their care of the flock (I Peter 2:25; 5:2, 4). The shepherd is the symbol of the king, and in this regard, it is interesting to note how many of Israel's kings, patriarchs, and prophets began as shepherds.

Jesus does not mix His metaphors when He exhorts His disciples, "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). Three figures of speech combine to form the ideal kingship familiar in ancient times: the perfect king was shepherd of his flock, the loving father of his family, and commanding ruler of his country. Thus, when Jesus says with authority, "I am the good Shepherd," the qualities of shepherd, parent, and ruler are seen combined in Him (John 10:11, 14).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Good Shepherd (Part One)


 

Hebrews 4:15

Our High Priest, Jesus Christ, was trained—perfected, as it were—for the position He now holds. The Bible says that we will be priests and kings under Him (Revelation 5:10). A God-being had never experienced life as a human being until the Word became flesh, when He was encompassed with the same kind of frame we are. He then also had a mind that was subject to Satan the Devil, if He would allow it.

He suffered many things: He went through difficulties and angers. He felt and endured pain as we do. He took care of a mother. He worked with a father. He had younger brothers and sisters. When his father died, it appears that He became responsible for the family and running the family business. He ran a business as a stonemason, a construction worker, and He did it, undoubtedly, very well.

He learned to work with His hands. He became hungry. He fasted and prayed. He experienced hatred. He learned to trust God and walked with Him, hand in hand, through His own periods in the valley of the shadow of deep gloom. He experienced, in principle, everything in life.

We have to remember that we are being trained to work under Him. Some of the fruit that is produced as a result of our going through these valleys will be helpful to others, even here and now. However, it will be extremely helpful when we are in the Kingdom of God. We need to understand, however, that always, no matter how dark, shadowy, or painful our experiences, we have the very best management that any spiritual sheep could ever possibly have.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Psalm 23 (Part 3)


 

 




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