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Jesus — the Good Shepherd and the Lamb of God

One of the distinctive ways the one true God reveals Himself in Holy Scripture is by referring to Himself as the great “I AM” God. When the Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush to call him as one of His prophets and Moses asked Him to give His name by which He is to be known, God said, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14).

By identifying Himself with this remarkable name, the Lord was revealing Himself as the very special personal divine being who always was and always will be.

The Son of God who appeared to Moses on this occasion (Exodus 3:2-4) is the great “I AM” God together with the Father and the Holy Spirit. In John’s Gospel record, we find Jesus referring to Himself in various ways as the “I AM” God. To this unique name Jesus added special descriptive identifiers such as “I am the bread of life” (6:35), “I am the light of the world” (8:12), “I am the good shepherd” (10:11),  “I am the resurrection and the life” (11:25), and “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (14:6).

In each of these cases, Jesus makes known wonderful truths about Himself which serve for our blessing and are a source of great comfort. For example, when Jesus tells us He is the bread of life, He helps us to understand that He is spiritual nourishment for our souls, who gives us spiritual and eternal life so that we will never die.

As the light of the world Jesus sheds the light of God’s saving grace
in our minds and hearts so that in following Him in faith we have the light of life.

As the resurrection and the life Jesus made it possible for us to be raised from our graves on the last day to an everlasting life of glory in heaven.

As the way, the truth, and the life Jesus is the only One through whom we have access to God the Father and can gain entrance into His eternal home.

Jesus’ identification of Himself as the good shepherd is especially comforting and reassuring to us in physical and spiritual ways, as well as temporally and eternally. Recognizing our sheep-like tendencies and needs, we know that we are totally dependent upon the Lord for our bodies and souls, and we confidently believe that Jesus faithfully takes care of everything in our lives. The psalmist David knew this about the good shepherd and so penned by inspiration of God: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). With Jesus as our good shepherd there is nothing that we truly lack in this life.

Jesus as good shepherd is also referred to as the lamb of God in Revelation 7: “the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (v. 17). To the unlearned it may sound confusing to hear that Jesus is both a shepherd and a lamb.

Jesus helps to remove any confusion when He declares, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep…And I give them eternal life” (John 10:11,28). As Jesus lovingly and mercifully laid down His life for all the lost and condemned sheep, He was serving as God’s sacrificial lamb whose precious blood atoned for the sins of the world (John 1:29).

Only the great “I AM” God could pay the costly price for our redemption as the sacrificial lamb and at the same time take care of all our needs as the good shepherd until we are brought safely into heaven.

Praise be to our “I AM” God, who is both the good shepherd and the lamb of God!

 Praise be to our “I AM” God, who is both the good shepherd and the lamb of God!