By Erin Bird

Last week, we began a new series in Psalm 23. We only looked at the first phrase, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” But before you try to jump ahead to the next half of verse 1, there is more I’d like to point out to you about this opening five-word phrase. And what I want to point out is that if you are a Jesus-follower, then Jesus is your shepherd.

In John 10:11-16, Jesus describes himself as a shepherd. But not just a typical shepherd. He calls himself a “good” shepherd.

I don’t know about you, but when someone starts describing themselves as “good,” I get turned off. I admire humility. So for someone to say “I’m good” or “I’m the best” smacks of boasting and unhealthy pride. But when Jesus calls himself the “good shepherd,” he’s not boasting. Rather, he’s stating the truth. He’s good because of what He is willing to do for His “sheep.” Verse 11 sums it up:

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

False Shepherds

Too often, I think we humans are prone to wander and follow false shepherds.

  • We buy into the lie that the Entertainment Shepherd will bring us comfort,
  • that a new Romantic Shepherd will bring protection,
  • that the Extra-bowl-of-ice-cream Shepherd will bring fulfillment,
  • or that the Higher-income Shepherd will lead us to greener pastures.

Their enticements sound so good, we fall for their trick and follow these false shepherds, only to discover they never truly satisfy. You know why? Two reasons:

1. Because these shepherds demand you lay your life down for them.
2. When trouble comes, they will flee like hired hands.

Sheep on dusty mountainside with their shepherdFor instance, you may fall into the arms of a forbidden lover and find a temporary escape from life’s wolves. But that fleeting euphoria leaves, and eventually you’ll discover the affair didn’t truly rescue you from anything. Rather, the affair was a wolf-in-shepherd’s clothing, consuming you yet letting the problems of life remain or even compound.

But Jesus, as a good shepherd, loves you as you are meant to be loved and need to be loved. And you can see his shepherding love and commitment clearly through the cross. He laid down his life, dying to protect you, to rescue you from the wolf of sin, so He could bring you into the green pastures of His love and grace.

So today, take a moment to read John 10:11-16 slowly, pondering Jesus’ shepherd-like love for you. Then take a moment to run to Jesus in prayer, thanking Him for being a good shepherd.