In our highly technological, hustle and bustle world of today, it can be difficult to relate to - or even understand - the culture of the times we read about in the bible. Jesus refers to himself as “the good shepherd”, but most of us have never held a job as a shepherd or have even lived on a farm. Wouldn’t it be cool if God would drop down an updated version of the bible that fits our current day understanding? Okay, maybe it wouldn’t. The bible is still perfect just as it is because even though I’ve never been a shepherd, I can clearly understand the sentiment behind the analogy. Jesus says in John chapter 10, verses 14 and 15:
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as my Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
The shepherd and sheep relationship is somewhat unique. Sheep are very dependent on the shepherd. They trust them even to the point of recognizing their voice. In much the same way, as our eyes are opened, we come to realize how dependent we are on Christ. He can do something for us that is impossible for us to do on our own, which is put us in right relationship with our creator. Jesus is described in other areas of the bible as a lamb because he willingly died for us like a sheep led to the slaughter. So, in effect, he is our shepherd, but also the lamb who was slain. Using analogies like these gives us a clear understanding of Jesus’ role in God’s plan, and I for one, am very thankful that he spelled out so clearly.
One way that Jesus describes himself is as “the good shepherd”. If we truly follow Christ, he knows us and we know him. And if we know him, we should know how to please him, we should know what he desires, and we should know how he feels about us. He laid his life down for us, so that we might live. There is no greater love that he could’ve shown us. I encourage you to get to know Jesus. And if you already know him, to grow to know him more deeply and more intimately. After all, wouldn’t you like to know him as well as he knows the father?