5 Qualities that Make Jesus the Good Shepherd

Jesus called himself the good shepherd.   When he said this, his audience probably knew well the role of a shepherd.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met an actual shepherd.  I decided that if I wanted to know more about Jesus, I should learn more about shepherds as I studied the scriptures.  What I found was encouraging- and I hope it encourages you as well.

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In the Bible, sheep and shepherds are referred to with great frequency.  Sometimes, the Bible talks about real sheep and real shepherds.  Other times, it compares God’s people to sheep and the leaders of God’s people as shepherds.   Only Jesus is called the good shepherd.  What is it about Jesus that makes him refer to himself as such?  Here are five qualities that I found, that describe a good shepherd, along with five scriptures that show why this is such a perfect description of Jesus….  


1.  He is good.

 Kalos, the Greek word, translated “good,” describes that which is noble, wholesome, good, and beautiful.  This is the character of God, and He alone is good.

“And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

Matthew 19:16-17 (emphasis added)

Jesus is the only one who has, or ever will, live a sinless life.  He kept and fulfilled the commandants perfectly.  Those who call on the name of Jesus are forgiven and are seen by God as good, but it is only through Jesus that we can lay claim to this goodness.  And as we know, we’re all still works in progress.  For now, what’s left of our sin nature is still fighting against our true nature (who we are in Christ).


There are other shepherds: some who lead well and some who don’t.  We need leaders who will point us to God, who will emulate the Good Shepherd and who will submit to the authority of Christ Jesus.   All shepherds, other than Christ, will fail us if we look to them for our salvation, because only Jesus has the exclusive title of, the good shepherd.   He’s the only way to God the Father.


2. He protects

 “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:28

When we place ourselves under the care of Jesus our life is safe with him.

3. He guides

“He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3

Jesus shows us a better way to live.  When we follow him, he is glorified.

4. He nurtures

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:11

He provides exactly what we need to grow in our faith.

The Good Shepherd

5. He lays down his life

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

Jesus showed his love for us by leaving heaven, entering humanity, living a perfect life, and paying the price for our sins by dying on the cross.  He rose again, ascended to heaven to be with his Father, and intercedes on our behalf so that we can enter into relationship with God. Jesus rescued us and lay down his life for us, his sheep. 


These five qualities of the good shepherd are proof to me that Jesus is a leader that can be trusted.  Jesus loves you.  He is the good shepherd.  He will never leave you.  You can trust him.