In the book of Jeremiah 23, a prophetic promise is made: “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will raise up for David a righteous branch, a king who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called, ‘the Lord, our righteous Savior.'” When we encounter this verse, whom does it bring to mind? The answer is clear: Jesus.

This phrase, “righteous branch,” serves as a metaphor for the Messiah. Thus, Jesus becomes the fulfillment of this promise and prophecy, casting himself as the ultimate Good Shepherd. In a world plagued by the failings of bad shepherds, Jesus steps in to mend what has been broken. The authors of the Gospels concur, noting that God Himself will assume the role of the shepherd for His people, offering redemption and grace to all, regardless of their past.

The Ideal Shepherd

Jesus doesn’t merely claim to be a shepherd; He identifies as the ideal shepherd, characterized by selfless care and unwavering devotion. His purpose centers on safeguarding and guiding His flock, with the utmost sacrifice: “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” This self-sacrifice distinguishes Him from the hired hands of the world, who abandon the flock in times of peril, leaving the sheep vulnerable to predators. Jesus goes beyond surface recognition; He knows His sheep intimately, calling each one by name, fostering a profoundly personal relationship.

The Authentic Good Shepherd

Jesus doesn’t just assert that He is the shepherd; He proclaims Himself as the “good shepherd.” The term “good” usually conveys a positive connotation, but with Jesus, it carries a deeper meaning. He isn’t just “good” in a conventional sense; He is intrinsically, genuinely good. In his very nature, He is the model that others can safely imitate. To His first listeners, Jesus signifies the arrival of the ideal, authentic, intrinsically good shepherd. Regardless of past disappointments from other shepherds or church experiences, Jesus emphasizes that He is the one to look up to, the genuine Good Shepherd.

The Shepherd Who Lays Down His Life

Jesus doesn’t just claim to be the Good Shepherd; He backs it up with action. In John 10:11, He states, “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” While past shepherds may have fled or mistreated their flock, Jesus distinguishes Himself by sacrificing His life for the sheep. Under the Old Testament’s sacrificial system, people offered animals for their sins repeatedly. However, Jesus transcends this system, serving as the ultimate sacrifice, making us acceptable to God by laying down His life.

Knowing His Sheep

Jesus declares, “I know my sheep, and my sheep know me.” He leads with His voice, not force, as the shepherd who calls His sheep by name and guides them. This personal connection is profound, emphasizing the importance of our names, our nature, and our needs. Despite His divine stature as the Creator of all, Jesus knows each of us intimately, making Him the ultimate Good Shepherd who cares for His flock.

Bringing In the Outsiders

One of Jesus’s revolutionary actions is His determination to bring in the marginalized and the outsiders. He infuriates religious leaders by welcoming “sinners” and outsiders, dismantling societal boundaries. By inviting them into His fold, Jesus embodies the promise of redemption and grace available to all. Regardless of past experiences with “bizarro shepherds,” Jesus’s mission is to fulfill what no other shepherd can.


In essence, Jesus is the Good Shepherd, our ideal leader, the authentic intrinsically good guide who knows us intimately and cares for our needs. He lays down His life, providing us with the ultimate sacrifice and making us acceptable to God. Beyond this, He seeks to bring in those who have been marginalized, offering redemption and grace to all, regardless of their past. Therefore, the central question remains: Are you following the Good Shepherd? His call transcends time and place, inviting all who seek purpose, forgiveness, and a deeper connection with the Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep.


The content of this article is drawn from a segment of the sermon titled “I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD,” delivered by Tony Brackemyre on October 29, 2023, at the Wilmington Church of Christ.

Watch the full message below: