Jesus, The Great Shepherd

Lesson Number 1

"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Heb 13:20-21)


When sin entered the world, weakness and ignorance entered with it. By "weakness," I mean a tendency to physical and spiritual deterioration. By "ignorance," I mean spiritual blindness, or the inability to perceive real conditions. These conditions make those possessing them subject to the delusions of the devil, "who deceives the whole world" (Rev 12:9). Without the Shepherd, there is no hope of surviving the "wiles of the devil." No person, however learned and disciplined, is of himself equal to the challenges and deceptions of Satan.

We desperately need a Savior, a Mediator, and a Shepherd. The burden of the Law was to convince us of this fact. The thrust of the Gospel is to persuade us of God's resolution of our sin-caused dilemma.

In disassociation from God, humanity is incapable of navigating safely through this world. Surrounded by distraction and subject to the wiles of the devil, hopelessness is inevitable. Duly observed, life will eventually lead us to this conclusion.

The prophet was right, "I know, O LORD, that a man's way is not in himself; Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps" (Jer 10:23, NASB). Godly people have always acknowledged, "The steps of a man are established by the LORD; And He delights in his way" (Psa 37:23, NASB). There is no level of human attainment that puts one beyond the necessity of Divine guidance. Even though this condition is doubted among self-acclaimed scholars, it stands as a hallmark of spiritual understanding. The existence of remission, intercession, prayer, and hope confirm this to be the case. If a person--any person--was able to direct his own path, there would be no need of God, a Savior, or Scripture. No wonder the Spirit affirms, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psa 14:1).

By the grace of God, we have been given a Shepherd; a "great Shepherd," a "good Shepherd," a "chief Shepherd." He is adequate for all the needs of humanity, and can bring us safely to glory. His presence confirms our need of Him. Just as the presence of food postulates the existence of a need for food, so the presence the "great Shepherd" assumes our need to be led and fed.

It does not take long in the journey of life to confront circumstances that require more resources than we possess. Our powers dissipate and wane quickly when "we are troubled on every side" (2 Cor 4:8). Under stress, we soon find the shallowness of nature's well. Those that imagine they are sufficient in themselves for the vicissitudes of life are deluded.

While these are elementary observations, they are generally NOT acknowledged. Throughout the Scriptural record, a tendency to seek assistance from man rather than God has surfaced. Israel was solemnly warned not to go to Egypt for help, but to rely upon their God. "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!" (Isa 31:1). If this was true with Israel, prior to the inauguration of the new covenant, what must be said now that the "great Shepherd of the sheep" has been given to the people of God.