The Shepherd in the New Testament

Shepherds Visit the Good Shepherd

Shepherds first appear in the New Testament (Luke 2) when the angels came to them to announce the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. They went to visit Him. Did they realize He was The Good Shepherd?

Jesus is the Good Shepherd

Jesus introduced the shepherd allegory (John 10:1-18) calling himself the Good Shepherd (Luke 15:1-7) the story of the lost sheep, and (John 21:15-17) challenging Peter to be a Good Shepherd. These stories pick up on familiar Old Testament themes of searching for scattered sheep and of the Messianic promise that the Messiah will be like a good and faithful shepherd.

The Good Shepherd Challenge

Jesus established shepherding as a leadership function in His post-resurrection appearance to Simon Peter. Jesus challenged Peter with the responsibility to ‘Tend my lambs…Shepherd my sheep…Tend my sheep.’ Peter later referred to the leaders of the Church as shepherds, establishing a direct connection between the Shepherd allegory and Christian Leadership (1 Peter 5:1-5).

The Good Shepherd Lineage

The leadership thread established with Joseph’s blessing in Genesis extended through King David of Israel and through Jesus as the Good Shepherd. It was handed off as a Christian leadership model and became a viable model for the Great Leader.

New Testament Shepherd Tasks

Recover lost sheep Luke 15:4
Call sheep by name and lead them John 10:3
Lead from the front John 10:4
Lead flock out of the fold John 10:4
Sheep will not follow a stranger John 10:5
Oversight with care 1 Peter 5:2
Be an example to the flock 1 Peter 5:3

 

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