After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star at its rising and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Christ would be born. 5 “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet: 6 And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah: Because out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”
The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need. 2 He lets me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.
A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand, since he is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep, leaves them and runs away when he sees a wolf coming. The wolf then snatches and scatters them. 13 This happens because he is a hired hand and doesn’t care about the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 But I have other sheep that are not from this sheep pen; I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. Then there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life so that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”
1 Peter 5:4
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
Our Good Shepherd
Jesus was referred to as The Good Shepherd long before His birth. In fact, in the Old Testament, Micah prophesied that Jesus would stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, and his greatness would reach to the ends of the earth (Micah 5:4).
Look at the first verse of Psalm 23: “The Lord is our shepherd, and in him we have all we need.” When we think of a shepherd, we tend to think of their responsibilities: to lead, guide, and protect their flock. Jesus does this, and more. In fact, in John 10, Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd. Why? Because of His unique shepherding that leads to eternal life. We recognize what a shepherd does is perfected in what Christ, as Good Shepherd, does for us.
In Scripture, we also see He leads us along the right path according to His will (Psalm 23:3). Meaning if we abide in Him and in His Word, He will guide and direct our path as we seek His will for our lives. We also see that he protects and comforts us when we go through difficult times (Psalm 23:4). In John, Jesus tells us that the Good Shepherd even lays down his own life for his sheep (John 10:11). We are His sheep; we are the very ones He came to save.
Prayer & Reflection:
Today, allow the Lord to lead, guide, and direct you. Find joy and peace in knowing that He came, so that we may have life and have it in abundance (John 10:10). In your prayer, thank God for being your Good Shepherd. Pray that God would give you discernment and wisdom to know His will and to rest in the peace that can only be found in Christ.