The Bible presents the shepherding ministry of Jesus Christ from three different perspectives.
A. The Good Shepherd: As the Good Shepherd, he died for the sheep.
John 10:15… “Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
John 10:17-18… “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
B. The Great Shepherd: As the Great Shepherd, he lives for the sheep to perfect them.
Hebrews 13:20-21…”May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
C. The Chief Shepherd: As the Chief Shepherd, he will return to gather His sheep and take them to heaven.
1 Peter 5:1-4…”To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”
These three shepherd titles encompass his ministry to us in the past, present, and future. Bible students have noticed that there is a parallel between the three shepherd titles of the Lord and Psalms 22, 23, and 24.
Psalm 22 describes the Good Shepherd who gives his life for the sheep.
Psalm 23 tells us of the Great Shepherd’s provision and protection for his sheep, his ministry to us “all the days of our lives.”
Psalm 24 is a victory psalm that announces the arrival of the King, the Chief Shepherd, who will defeat his enemies and reward his people.
Charles Spurgeon had this to say about Jesus as Shepherd: We all know, and are very glad and comforted in the knowledge that the Lord Jesus Christ, as our Shepherd, exercises towards us all the kind and necessary offices which a shepherd performs towards his sheep. With gentle sway He rules us for our good—“Let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.” He guides us—“And when He puts forth His own sheep He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice.” He provides for us—“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 protects us from all forms of evil; therefore, “though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for He is with us: His rod and His staff, they comfort us.” If we wander, He seeks us out and brings us back. “He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” If we are broken, He binds us up; if we are wounded, He heals according to His own Word, “I will bind up those who are broken, and will strengthen those who are sick.” The sheep is an animal of many diseases and many needs, and so the Christian is an individual of many sins and many infirmities; but as the shepherd endeavors to meet all the needs of his flock, so our Lord Jesus succors all the blood-bought company in all their needs.