17 The Good Shepherd scripture

17 The Good shepherd scripture 1

There is a significant passage in the pages of the bible that resonates with long-standing wisdom and unequalled tenderness.

The Good Shepherd Scripture stands out among the huge collection of biblical texts as a brilliant gem, bringing us into a place where instruction and protection are entwined and compassion flowing unceasingly like a peaceful stream.

We are invited to journey with the gentle shepherd in these verses and unravelling back the layers of analogies and meaning that create a striking picture of divine love and unchanging devotion.

Understanding the Context of a Good Shepherd

A. Placing the Good Shepherd Passage within the Gospel of John

The Good Shepherd passage, found in the Gospel of John, holds a special place within the larger narrative of this gospel. This passage is located in John 10:1-18 and serves as a continuation of the preceding chapter’s themes, where Jesus heals a man born blind and engages in a dialogue about spiritual blindness and true sight.

Within the broader context of the Gospel of John, the Good Shepherd passage is an integral part of Jesus’ teaching on his identity, mission, and relationship with his followers. This discourse follows the pattern of several “I am” statements made by Jesus, wherein he reveals his divine nature and purpose using the language of a good shephred.

B. Providing Historical and Cultural Context of Shepherding in Biblical Times

To fully appreciate the depth of the Good Shepherd , it’s essential to delve into the historical and cultural context of shepherding in biblical times. Shepherding was a prevalent occupation in the ancient Near East and held significant cultural and religious symbolism.

  • Cultural Significance of Shepherding

Shepherding was not only a practical occupation but also held deep cultural significance. It was an essential aspect of daily life, providing sustenance through wool, milk, and meat. Shepherds were responsible for guiding their flocks to sources of water, green pastures, and safe resting places. This role of protection, provision, and guidance forms the basis for the Good Shepherd metaphor used by Jesus.

  • Biblical References to Shepherding

The metaphor of God as a shepherd and his people as his flock is a recurring theme in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). For instance, Psalm 23 portrays God as the shepherd who leads his sheep to still waters and green pastures, symbolizing his care and guidance. Additionally, figures like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David were shepherds, often drawing parallels between earthly shepherding and divine guidance.

What Does Bible Say About the Good Shepherd?

The concept of the Good Shepherd is primarily found in the New Testament of the Bible, particularly in the Gospel of John, chapter 10, where Jesus refers to himself as the Good Shepherd. Here are the key verses that highlight this imagery:

John 10:1-18 

In these verses, Jesus uses the metaphor of a shepherd and his sheep to describe his relationship with his followers. He emphasizes his role as the Good Shepherd who cares for, protects, and even sacrifices his life for his sheep (believers). This imagery conveys Jesus’ deep love, compassion, and selflessness in guiding and nurturing his followers. It also reflects the idea of unity among believers under his leadership, as he mentions bringing together “one flock” and being the “one shepherd.”

17 Good Shepherd Scriptures

  1. Psalm 23:1-4 (Old Testament):Psalm 23:1-4 (Old Testament)“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
  2. Isaiah 40:11 (Old Testament): Isaiah 40:11 (Old Testament)“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”
  3. Ezekiel 34:11-12 (Old Testament):Ezekiel 34:11-12 (Old Testament)“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.”
  4. Micah 5:2 (Old Testament):Micah 5:2 (Old Testament) “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
  5. Matthew 18:12-14 (New Testament): Matthew 18:12-14 (New Testament)“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.”
  6. John 10:11 (New Testament): “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
  7. John 10:14-16 (New Testament): “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
  8. Hebrews 13:20 (New Testament): “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep…”
  9. 1 Peter 2:25 (New Testament): “For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
  10. 1 Peter 5:4 (New Testament): “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”
  11. Revelation 7:17 (New Testament): “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
  12. Revelation 12:5 (New Testament): “She gave birth to a son, a male child, who ‘will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.’ And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.”
  13. Psalm 95:7 (Old Testament): “For he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice…”
  14. Psalm 100:3 (Old Testament): “Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”
  15. Jeremiah 31:10 (Old Testament): “Hear the word of the Lord, you nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: ‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.'”
  16. Zechariah 13:7 (Old Testament): “Awake, sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me!’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones.'”
  17. Mark 14:27 (New Testament): “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.'”

Extracting Lessons on the Good Shepherd

  1. Compassion: Jesus’ role as the Good Shepherd teaches us the importance of compassion and empathy. He cares deeply for every individual, regardless of their circumstances or shortcomings. We are called to show similar compassion to others, extending a helping hand, showing kindness, and offering support to those in need.
  2. Sacrifice: The Good Shepherd’s willingness to sacrifice his life for his sheep underscores the value of sacrificial love. This teaches us the importance of putting others’ needs before our own and being willing to make personal sacrifices for the well-being of others.
  3. Care and Protection: Jesus’ role as the protector of his flock highlights the need to care for and protect those who are vulnerable. As followers of his example, we are called to stand up for justice, defend the oppressed, and ensure the safety and well-being of those around us.
  4. Guidance and Leadership: Just as a shepherd guides and leads his sheep, Jesus provides guidance and leadership for our spiritual journey. We should seek his teachings and example to navigate life’s challenges and make morally sound decisions.
  5. Inclusivity and Outreach: The parable of the lost sheep reminds us of the importance of reaching out to those who have strayed or are marginalized. We are called to embrace inclusivity and actively seek out those who may be lost or in need of support, demonstrating the same relentless compassion that Jesus displayed.


The pages of the Bible unveil a timeless and resonant portrayal of Jesus as the compassionate guide, protector, and sacrificer of his flock. This symbolism goes far beyond mere words; it encapsulates profound lessons that continue to inspire hearts and minds across generations.

As the Good Shepherd, Jesus embodies the essence of compassion, emphasizing the invaluable qualities of empathy, care, and inclusivity. He willingly lays down his life, illustrating the pinnacle of selflessness and the boundless extent of his love for humanity. His unwavering commitment to seeking out the lost and vulnerable reflects a profound dedication to restoring and nurturing even the seemingly forgotten.

The lessons drawn from this imagery are as enduring as they are transformative. Compassion is revealed not just as an emotion, but as an active force that prompts us to reach out to those in need. Sacrifice transcends mere material offerings; it becomes a testament to the profound impact of selfless acts on the lives of others. The care and guidance that Jesus, the ultimate Shepherd, offers serve as a model for us to lead by example, offering direction and support to those around us.

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