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

Jeremiah 31:10

God says that He, "who scattered Israel," will also gather it "as a shepherd does his flock." He asks that His message be declared "in the isles afar off." This is not Crete or even Cyprus or Malta. The islands must be far away, and northwest of Jerusalem.

Here again, God says He will gather Israel from "the isles afar off." Note the plural, isles.

Charles Whitaker
Searching for Israel (Part Eight): The Scattering of Ten-Tribed Israel


 

Ezekiel 20:37-38

Notice that the sheep pass under the rod. Besides being an instrument of both offense and defense—the rod was, in effect, a two-foot club—it also functioned as a tool, under which the sheep passed. What does this picture? First of all, it pictures counting. The shepherd would count the sheep in his flock to make sure they were all present and accounted for.

It pictures something else too. As the sheep passed under the rod—a symbol of the Word of God—they would undergo a close scrutiny. The shepherd would run his rod backward or across the grain, as it were, of the wool. The rod separated the wool, allowing the shepherd to look down onto the sheep's skin. He was then able to see both the quality of the skin and of the wool.

God is illustrating that by means of His rod, He is giving us careful, close scrutiny for two reasons: One, it gives Him the opportunity to evaluate the quality of His sheep. Two, it provides a means of separation. Quality and separation are the two reasons for His scrutiny of us.

Recall Matthew 25 and the separation of the sheep and the goats. The rod aids in identifying or making sure of possession. Sheep's ears were often bored through or distinctively notched as a mark of identification. Sometimes, since the shepherds could not always see that identifying mark due to several flocks being mixed together in the pasture, they would make the sheep pass under the rod. When they did, the shepherd would flip back the ear to see the mark of possession. Again, it also gave them a chance to evaluate and determine the relative health and quality of that sheep.

We are all under the rod right now. Now is the time of our judgment (I Peter 4:17), and we are under evaluation to determine to whom we really belong: God or Satan. Who is our shepherd? The rod is a vitally important instrument for a shepherd. No good shepherd would be without one.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Psalm 23 (Part 3)


 

Luke 15:3-7

In a similar parable in Matthew 18:12-14, Jesus describes God's care over the least and little ones. In this parable in Luke, He magnifies divine grace to the lost, showing that God desires their recovery and salvation. The Bible contains many prophetic references to the One who would be the Ideal Shepherd (Psalm 23:1), the Perfect Shepherd (Ezekiel 34:11-16), and a Savior who would see the multitudes as sheep having no shepherd or, even worse, a worthless shepherd (Zechariah 11:16-17). Christ claims for Himself the title of the Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14). In Luke's illustration, Jesus seeks the lost sheep, sinners who desire to change because the Good Shepherd gives His life for those who repent. He desires to save them, give them His Holy Spirit, and help them through a life of overcoming that ends in eternal life.

Martin G. Collins
Parables of Luke 15 (Part One)


 

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 10:3

Unlike other animals, sheep rarely find their own way safely. Since sheep go astray, their guidance and safety lies in the Shepherd's leadership (Psalm 23:1-2). A thief, a robber, or a stranger may call the sheep by name and try to imitate their Shepherd's voice, but through long usage and intimacy, the sheep can discern a strange voice and become alarmed. We know the Shepherd's voice because the Holy Spirit gives us discernment; the result is that we turn and flee from any unfamiliar, misleading voice.

Often the unfamiliar voice is a religious-sounding one. Just as the Pharisees' voices confused and misled Jews, so do many religious leaders' voices today. Since the truth is not in them (I John 1:8; 2:4), they lead foolish sheep away from the truth. It is vital for us to seek to live according to the Good Shepherd's will, known from His voice. His positive guidance leads us "in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake" (Psalm 23:3).

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


 

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 10:15

When Jesus came in the flesh, He emphasized that He had been sent by the Father, and that His authority, offices, purposes, plans, and power were received from Him. All this was done with Jesus' complete acceptance and agreement (Philippians 2:5-8); He did not come reluctantly but with purpose and zeal. As the Great Shepherd, He sacrificed Himself, rose from the grave, and ascended to heaven, where He now intercedes for His sheep (Hebrews 7:25; 10:5-10; 13:20-21). Both the Father and His Son are one in Their love for the sheep, and so the Son came to seek and to save those who were lost.

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


 

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)


 

John 10:28-29

God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead, dwells in each member of His church through His Holy Spirit, and by it He will also give eternal life to them (Romans 8:11). Therefore, the life given to the sheep is the same Spirit that dwells in the Father, in the Shepherd, and in the sheep. Because the Shepherd gave His life for the sheep, sacrificing all, He is able to give abundant, eternal life to them by removing the obstacle of death, the penalty for sin, by the resurrection from the dead.

No one can steal His sheep from Him because they are, in effect, in the palm of His hand (I Peter 5:6; Revelation 1:17). Nothing could be safer or more secure. The Shepherd and His Father are one, and Their grip is tightly on Their church so that even "the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).

Thus, with a large number of sheep, the true Shepherd may shelter them in many pens, but they are still all His sheep and all one flock. The flock does not create this unity, but because the nature of the sheep is in harmony with their Shepherd, and because their relationship to Him is intimate, they recognize and obey His voice: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:27).

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


 

 




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