“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, John 10:14 (NLT)

I’m not a farmer. I enjoy the country. I have several friends who are farmers. I live in great farm country. But I’m not a farmer. So I may be about to show some of my naivety but to me, all sheep look alike. I know, I know. I’ve been on farms where the sheep are named, some of the chickens are named, the cows are named. But to me they all look pretty much alike. Especially sheep.

Tradition says that in Jesus’ day shepherds would take their flocks into the hills to eat. At some times of the year they may gather flocks together for the night. This was a great idea. Multiple shepherds could keep the sheep safer from attack, allow the shepherds to take turns standing guard, and give them opportunity for company. Being alone in the hills can be mighty lonely.

In the morning the sheep were divided up. The shepherd knew his sheep (how I don’t know) and the sheep knew their shepherd (even more amazing to me since sheep aren’t known for their intelligence).

Imagine what it must have been like for a sheep to get up in the morning and try to figure out which one of the shepherds to follow. Their lives depended on the decision after all. The shepherd made sure they were fed well, led to quiet pastures, protected from thieves, natural calamity and wild animals. Shepherds that didn’t own the animals weren’t likely to take care of them very well.

When you think about it, life is a lot like that today. We have all sorts of voices telling us to follow this cause or that cause. Politicians telling us we need more programs and more taxes or less programs and less taxes. Religionists telling us we need to stand firm in our beliefs or that we need to be more tolerant of all beliefs. Back and forth it goes. Voices calling out to your heart to go this way or that way to find the relief you are looking for.

Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd. What does a Good Shepherd look like?

  • A Good Shepherd will never compromise the wishes of the owner. He’ll not lead you in a way that is contrary to what God’s Word says. There are no ‘new revelations’ Does God still speak? Yes. But his words will never compromise the Holy Scriptures we already have.
  • A Good Shepherd will never compromise the safety of the sheep. There may be times when we go through dangerous times. Times when the enemy will be lurking, waiting to attack. But our Good Shepherd will never lead us there and leave us there. His protection lasts forever.
  • A Good Shepherd will never ask the sheep to compromise their Holiness. We are referred to as the sheep of his pasture. Temptations will come our way. There will be times when those things put before us seem like God’s leading, but are directly opposed to scripture. Holiness is based on God’s sinless plan for our lives. We will never be sinless this side of heaven, but we should always strive to do so.


Perhaps one of the most stunning things about our Good Shepherd is that he will go to extraordinary measures to draw us to himself. I heard a story once. I haven’t been able to verify it, but it goes something like this. If a lamb continued to stray from the flock, as a last resort the shepherd would gently break the leg of the wayward lamb and then set it. As the leg healed the lamb was carried by the Shepherd. The result? The healing of the lamb’s leg also caused a bond to the shepherd’s heart. That lamb, once healed, would never stray again.

The word picture is an amazing reminder that Jesus will do whatever needs to be done to draw us to his close, loving, gracious and merciful arms.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank you that during these uncertain times I can know you will lead me in paths for my own good and God’s glory. Give me wisdom to discern your voice and strength to follow. Amen.