Study Series: Gospel of John – The Seven Great Claims of Jesus
Study 4 – I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
As we saw in our last study, the idea of sheep and shepherds is firmly rooted in Jewish
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David were all shepherds. David is, perhaps, the great
example of a shepherd from the Old Testament and one that it is worth us looking at in a
little more detail. He was the shepherd boy, the youngest son, who against all the odds was
anointed king of Israel. He penned the great Psalm, number 23, which tells us:
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
In our key scripture John 10:11, Jesus says ‘I am the good Shepherd.’ In fact, He says this not
just once but twice (see also verse 14), as if for emphasis.
There is the ‘I am’ again, associating and identifying Him with Yahweh. He also describes
Himself as ‘good’. This description both stands alone, ‘I am good’ and links with the word
that follows, ‘shepherd’. In Matthew 19:17, Jesus has asked, “Why do you call me good? No
one is good but One, that is God.” Yet here, Jesus describes Himself as good. What
implication does that have? What is the significance of that statement?
He also claims to be the ‘good shepherd.’ He explains that the core qualities of the good
shepherd are that He lays down His life for His sheep and that He knows His sheep. Unlike
the hireling, He does not abandon the sheep when trouble comes.
Jesus did, indeed, come as the good shepherd to seek and save that which was lost. To lay
down His life for the sheep, and once the price was paid, to pick it up again.
1. Please begin by reading the 23 rd Psalm. Pick out one of the phrases in the Psalm and apply
it to your own life and circumstances. How does this promise speak into those
circumstances now? If you are studying in a group, share your thoughts with others in the
2. Jesus declares “I am the good shepherd.” Think about each of the elements of this claim:
1) I AM, 2) the good, and 3) Shepherd. What is the significance of each of these points?
3. If you are a Christian, what does it mean for you that Jesus, ‘laid down His life for the
sheep’ and that, ‘He knows each one of His sheep’. What is the significance of the fact that,
having laid down His life, He was able to pick it up again.
4. If you are not yet a Christian, what does it mean that Jesus laid down His life, and that He
laid it down for YOU? Why did He do that and how will you respond?