I AM: Jesus in His Own Words

Day 4 of 7 • This day’s reading


  I AM…The Good Shepherd

The fourth of seven self-descriptions follows immediately at the heels of the third and stays within the world of sheep and shepherds. In it, Jesus declares himself to be “the good shepherd.” This metaphor is deeply rooted in Old Testament imagery, which was full of good shepherd-kings,like David, who brought peace and prosperity, as well as evil shepherd-kings who brought destruction (Ez. 34). The greatest Old Testament shepherd metaphor was, of course, reserved for God himself (Psalm 23). With this pronouncement, Jesus unequivocally announces that the salvation promised when God would finally do away with evil shepherds and establish himself as the ultimate Good Shepherd was happening in the person of Jesus, and that the victory of the shepherd-king would come in, giving up his life for the sheep.