The Good Shepherd

Author: Naomi Zylstra — Host: Dylan KraayenbrinkPosted on: June 4, 2023

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
The Good Shepherd

READ: PSALM 23; JOHN 10:10-16

Shepherds were not held in high regard in ancient Israel. They spent most of their time outdoors, the sheep didn’t smell great, and the job could be pretty dull…until it wasn’t. One part of a shepherd’s job was to defend the flock against wild animals looking for a meal. Shepherds had to protect the sheep and guide them to safe pastures.

In the Old Testament, David was a shepherd before he was Israel’s king. When God sent the prophet Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons, David had to be called in from the field because he was watching the sheep. As the youngest son, he wasn’t even around when Samuel first arrived to see Jesse’s family and anoint the future king. After all, someone had to watch and defend the sheep, and that job fell to the youngest son, David.

In the New Testament, Jesus is frequently called a shepherd. He fulfilled Old Testament prophecies of a Messiah who would shepherd God’s people, including a poem/song written by David: Psalm 23. Like David guided sheep, Jesus guides us. In fact, Jesus is called the Good Shepherd. While every human leader fails, Jesus is the perfect and trustworthy leader. He shows us what it looks like to walk in “paths of righteousness” in our lives, and He walks with us (Psalm 23:3-4).

Like David protected his sheep—even fending off a lion and a bear—Jesus protects His people. Jesus performed the ultimate act of sacrifice a shepherd could do. When we were trapped in the jaws of sin, Jesus laid down His life for us. But even death couldn’t stop the Good Shepherd. He rose from the dead, and then He shared the victory over death with His flock in the resurrection so that we can be with our Shepherd in the new creation forever. • Naomi Zylstra

• In what ways is Jesus like a shepherd?

• Jesus often associates with outcasts. In Luke 2:8-20, why do you think God chose to announce Jesus’s birth to a group of shepherds?

• If you want to dig deeper, read 1 Samuel 16:1-13; 17:34-36; Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15, 22; Mark 6:34.

“I [Jesus] am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11 (WEB)