The Good Shepherd: one of seven metaphors


The accompanying painting by 19th Century German artist Bernard Plockhorst depicts the Good Shepherd whose sheep follow Him willingly and eagerly because he is willing to do anything for their well being, even if it means laying down his own life.

Some of the recent Verses of the Day have been taken from passages that reveal the seven metaphors spoken by Jesus, all of which occur in the Gospel of John.  In these scriptural references the Lord attempts to describe himself in order to help his listeners to better understand who he is. Metaphors provide direct comparisons between two subjects, in an effort to paint a vivid mind picture of one object in terms of the other.

The Verse of the Day for December 6, 2013 is one of two references to the Good Shepherd:

John 10:14-15

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Some of the specific qualities of “the good shepherd” can be found in Psalm 23, one of the most recognized and recited passages from the Book of Psalms:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The second metaphorical reference to Jesus states, “I am the good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” This indicates that the shepherd is fully committed to his sheep and consequently has their full trust. The good shepherd cares so much for his sheep that he is even willing to lay down his life for the sheep, as this phrase is used three times in the sheepfold discourse.

The following video provides a graphic and musical illustration of Psalm 23:

It is certainly comforting to know that Lord, indeed, is our shepherd, and it is good to know that he is a good one.

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