Subjectivity of Allegories
Allegories are not literal in translation and interpretation but require subjective artistry. For example, in the 23rd Psalm, the Shepherd is God and the sheep are people, while in 1 Peter 5:2, the shepherd is a person in a leadership role and sheep are the people who follow the leader. In John 10:14 when Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd,” the allegory exhibited two applications that are linked to Psalm 23:
(1) The Word became flesh (John 1:14). Jesus is both God and man. Jesus the “Word” is God; He is the Shepherd of Psalm 23.
(2) As “flesh” (a person) Jesus the Good Shepherd is an example of/for a Great Leader.
Case in point:
There is no record that Jesus ever spent a day in the field, tending sheep. Yet, some of the most beloved paintings of Jesus depict him as a shepherd.
For people of Faith, Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, is our spiritual guide. At the same time, He is an archetype for Christians who find themselves in positions of leadership (i.e., “What Would Jesus Do?”).
Lessons of The Good Shepherd
The model of a good shepherd and Jesus provides examples and establishes benchmarks for living and leadership.