Jesus: Our Shepherd/King

BIBLE INSIGHTS in 500 words*


Jesus: Our Shepherd/King
Richard Leslie Parrott, Ph.D.
John 10:7-10

Jesus calls himself “the shepherd of the sheep” (John 10:2, 11, 14)? For us, the picture is a gentle and sweet image fit for sentimental paintings and poetry. Not so for the people who heard Jesus make this claim. In the Old Testament, the shepherd of the sheep frequently referred to the King and his people.

The Anointed King and Good Shepherd was, in fact, the promised Messiah that would come from the house of David.

He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this (Isaiah 9:7).

Jesus gave sight to the blind and confronted the guilt of the Pharisees (John 10) acts that established God’s Kingdom with justice and righteousness. Jesus accomplished his purpose with the zeal of the Lord Almighty. He expands the application of the Good Shepherd by describing the tasks of the Anointed King and Messiah.

FIRST, Jesus is the Gate Keeper

He highlights a piece of the shepherd’s task by saying, “I am the gate for the sheep” (John 10:7). In the Middle East, the sheep pen did not have a gate as we do for corals in our culture. Through the night, the shepherd made his bed in the gateway of the sheep pen. The shepherd literally became the gate. The shepherd stopped sheep from getting out and predators from getting in.

Here is the power of this image: Keeping watch over our coming and going is a task assigned to God himself.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore
(Psalm 121:7-8)

Jesus is “displaying the work of the Lord” (John 9:2) as the gate for the sheep. Jesus watches over our coming and going.

SECOND, Jesus is the Life Giver

Jesus summarizes the task of God’s Anointed Messiah/King. He is the one who brings life, the life of eternity, into a world of injustice, death, and destruction: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). The impact of this verse is best understood as a reference to the thief who stands behind all evil leaders, the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy, Satan himself.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world and
against the spiritual forces of evil
in the heavenly realms”

(Ephesians 6:12).

Jesus is our victory and life. In Jesus, we stand against the powers of darkness and the forces of evil. The death and resurrection of Jesus is our assurance: “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again” (John 10:17).


*Most people read about 200 words a minute; this article is 499 words.

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