We can see throughout the bible many different stories of shepherds. Perhaps one of the most well-known being David, the shepherd boy who fought the giant Goliath and became king. He later pens Psalm 23, rich with imagery of the Lord being his Shepherd – leading and guiding (v2), restoring (v3), and walking beside him even in the face of death (v4). These are words from a man who knows firsthand what it is to be out in the fields day and night, caring and protecting his flock at all costs. He knows what it means to seek and find those sheep that are lost.
In the account of the first Christmas story we see more shepherds watching their flock by night who are heralded by angels to go and see the baby Jesus. They meet the newborn Jesus and then return to their fields glorifying and praising God for what they have seen, the “Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). These shepherds were pointing us to the greater Shepherd. Jesus himself proclaims, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep” (John 10:11). What comfort we can find in this humbling reminder that our relationship with God is not of our own doing.
We are the lost sheep and He is our seeking Shepherd. We are helpless, weak, defenseless, and prone to wander but by his deliberate grace we are safely and securely His in and through all circumstances. We need to be rescued, redeemed and restored and like sheep, we are incapable of achieving this on our own. Jesus is the perfect Shepherd who made the ultimate sacrifice to give us life in his place. He protects us from harm, he knows us completely and calls us to know him too.
One final picture found in Revelation 7:17 declares this same caring and gentle Shepherd as our conquering King. It is a beautiful paradox that sees Jesus, the Lamb revealed to be The Shepherd, sitting in might and glory on the throne in heaven where he will defeat every power of darkness known in this world and wipe away every tear! May Jesus our Good Shepherd be your comfort, your guide, your rescuer, redeemer and King!