Summary: Jesus can get the job done.
Jesus refers to Himself here as the “Good Shepherd.” There were two words for “good” in the Greek language. The first one, “agathos,” indicated good in the sense of morality. The second word, “kalos,” referred to goodness in the sense of capability.
It is the second word, “kalos,” that our Lord uses here. In other words, Jesus uses the imagery of a shepherd to portray Himself as being the kind of Savior who “gets the job done.”
In essence, Jesus is telling us here the same thing the writer of Hebrews spoke of in Hebrews 7:25 when he said that Jesus is a Savior who “is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him,” (Amplified).
Jesus is THE Good Shepherd. Why?
1. Because of His commitment to the sheep - vs. 11-13
When Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd, He contrasts himself with the hired hand. The difference between a true shepherd and a hired hand was this -
A true shepherd was born to the task. He was sent out with the flock as soon as he was old enough to go. The sheep became his friends and his companions. It became second nature for him to think of the sheep before he thought of himself. But the hired hand came into the job, not as a calling, but as a means of making money. He was in it solely for what he could get. He had no sense of the height or the responsibility of his task. He was only a hired hand. If there is an attack on the flock, the hired hand flees, but the true shepherd does whatever is required to save the sheep.
So it is that Jesus tells us He is the Good Shepherd, because He was willing to do what was required, the laying down of His life, for our sake. He who lived eternally came to die, so that we who were dying eternally might come to live. He gave His life willingly.
“No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily.” - John 10:18 (NLT)
“He did not die as a martyr, killed by men; He died as a substitute, willingly laying down His life for us.” - Warren Wiersbe
Jesus chose to lay down his life for his sheep. Jesus offered His life as a sacrifice for the sheep. The sheep were in mortal danger not from beasts such as wolf and lions but from sin; and He sacrificed Himself for our sake. There has never been a greater demonstration of love than the sacrifice made by our Good Shepherd.
“Calvary is the supreme demonstration of Divine love. Whenever you are tempted to doubt the love of God, Christian, go back to Calvary.” - A.W. Pink
2. Because of His concern for the sheep - vs. 14-15
In Palestine, sheep were not raised chiefly for the meat, but for the wool. So a shepherd became very attached to his sheep and they to him.
A good shepherd knew his sheep and his sheep recognized the shepherd’s call. In the same way, Jesus, our Good Shepherd, knows us.
“O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.” - Psalm 139:1-4 (NLT)
Yes, He is intimately acquainted with each one of us and He calls on us to become intimately acquainted with Him to the degree that we can recognize His voice above all others and follow Him.
“My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” - John 10:27 (The Message)
A tour guide was leading his party in Israel when they came upon a man driving a flock of sheep forward from behind. He found this odd, since he knew shepherds in the Middle East lead their sheep by calling to them. He asked the man, “How is it that you are driving these sheep? I have always been told that a shepherd leads his sheep.” The man replied, “I am not a shepherd; I am a butcher.”
Which would best describes your life - led or driven? Do you find yourself being more led in your day to day life - or driven? Too many of God’s people allow themselves to be driven by anxiety or fear. If that describes you, then you are not listening to the voice of the Good Shepherd. You’re listening to the voice of the butcher. Stop fearing, instead be led by your loving Savior! The Lord is your Shepherd! He won’t drive you. He’ll lead you. Just follow and He will lead you . . . beside the still waters. Where peace prevails.