When Christ described himself as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), he was alluding to Ezekiel’s prophecy about God restoring the Israelites to their own land.
A shepherd is one who tends sheep. He leads them to pasture and provides water for them. He also protects them from harm. And God promises to do that for all his people.
In fact, God will not delegate this task to some other being. ‘I myself will be the Shepherd of my sheep’ (v.15). When we have the personal oversight and attention of God, what more do we need?
More than 400 years after God revealed this to Ezekiel, Jesus would restate the same assurance. We saw him going around healing the sick and taking care of the oppressed among the people. Like Ezekiel promised, he strengthened the weak and bound up the injured. But he did not merely feed and care for the sheep; he went beyond that. He also lay down his life for them.
Thankfully, he tells us that God’s sheep is not confined to the Jews. Gentiles (non-Jews) have also been brought into God’s household. ‘I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.’ (John 10:16)
Have you listened and responded to his voice?