Jesus avers “I am the Good Shepherd” not once but twice in the Gospel according to the Apostle John (John 10:11, John 10:14). Superficially it may seem like anyone can make this claim but upon deeper analysis, the extent as to how profound and unique this claim is, make me realize that no one else really can claim this, except Jesus. This is one of the ‘I AM’ statements of Jesus, in which, not only does He state the obvious, but He tells us the responsibilities/characteristics of a good shepherd, all of which He fulfills impeccably.
Responsibilities of the good shepherd include the following (1) give life for the sheep (2) care for the sheep (3) know his sheep (4) lay his life for the sheep and (5) bring other sheep into his fold.
2 Samuel 7:8 talks about David, a shepherd, who was made ruler and king of Israel. David was faithful first as a shepherd and God made him to be the ruler of his people, the Israelites. David as a shepherd provided for his sheep, cared for them, knew them because when one of them was taken by a lion and a bear, he was willing to die for it by fighting the lion and the bear. There is however no account of David, bringing in sheeps from other flocks into his own. He may or may not have done so.
Jesus, THE good Shepherd gives eternal and abundant life to all who believe (John 3:16). He cares for each one of us (1 Peter 5:6-8) and He wants us to cast our anxieties on Him. He knows each one of us that belong to him (2 Tim 2:19). He knows our name – He called Saul by name, Simon by name, He called Zacchaeus by name, He even engraves the names of those who believe in Him in the palm of His hands (Isaiah 49:16). Don’t be surprised if you hear him calling you by your Name! He laid down his life voluntarily for our salvation (1 John 3:16). and He brings together all who are not part of His family (flock) into His family (Romans 1:16, 1 Timothy 2:4).
Jesus is the PROVIDING, PRESERVING and PROTECTING good shepherd. Just as God raised David from being the shepherd of sheep to be the ruler of his people, God who gave Jesus as the good Shepherd, raised Him up so that He will return as the ruler of ALL men (1 Corithians 15:24). If you have met Jesus and know him to be your good Shepherd, then He commands us to go and do likewise, to feed his lambs/sheep (John 21:15-17). If we faithfully shepherd His people on earth, He will make us rulers to reign with Him when He returns (Luke 19:17,19). If you have NOT yet met Jesus, THE GOOD SHEPHERD, I reckon that you meet Him first as the good shepherd and believe in Him so that you may come into His family and be under His Lordship (shepherdship), instead of waiting to meet Him as a ruler and righteous judge, when He returns. The decision is yours to make! He said “I AM the Good Shepherd” and that is a fact.
For a related reading, see Character and Names of God in Psalm 23
John 10:11-16 (KJV)
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
2 Samuel 7:8 (KJV)
8 Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: