My Who Is Jesus Series has included thus far three descriptions of Jesus: ‘the bread of life,’ ‘the light of the world,’ and ‘the door’ or ‘the gate.’
All the descriptions of Jesus that we are examining in this series come from the Gospel of John from God’s Holy Word. Each definition helps us to understand this historical figure loved by some, hated by others, and considered not all that important by yet others during his brief lifetime up through our present days.
In John chapter 10 verse 11 Jesus is quoted as saying, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” Maybe it seems a little confusing to you that in John 10:9 Jesus says he is ‘the gate’ to the sheep enclosure and now two verses later, he says he is the ‘good shepherd.’ Keep in mind that Jesus is speaking to His twelve disciples using illustrations of things familiar to them in their daily lives. Both ‘the gate’ and ‘the good shepherd’ are aspects of his spiritual power to look after those he loves.
There is a classic gospel hymn penned in Melrose, Scotland in 1868 by Elizabeth Cecilia Clephane and set to music in Edinburgh in 1874 by Ira David Sankey called The Ninety and Nine. It is based on a parable—Bible story with a lesson—related in Matthew 18:12-14 and Luke 15:3-7. The lesson is that even though the shepherd had 99 sheep who were safe, he went out into the cold dark night to search for the one sheep who had wandered off and was lost. Jesus as the Good Shepherd wants every person to be safe and saved. In this parable and the song, He goes out, looking for that lost soul. He finds the lost sheep, puts it on His shoulders and carries it home. There with friends and neighbors, He rejoices.
Here below for your reading and meditation is John 10:11 in English, French, Spanish, and German as the personal human side of a personal caring God is presented.
English: I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. John 10:11 KJV (King James Version)
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11 ESV (English Standard Version)
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for his sheep. John 10:11 CPDV (Catholic Public Domain Version)
Français: Je suis le bon berger. Le bon berger donne sa vie pour ses brebis. Jean 10:11 LSG (La Sainte Bible par Louis Segond), BFC (Bible en français courant)
Español: Yo soy el buen pastor; el buen pastor su vida da por las ovejas. Juan 10.11 RVR1960 (Biblia Reina Valera 1960)
Yo soy el buen pastor. El buen pastor da su vida por las ovejas. Juan 10.11 NVI (Nueva Versión Internacional), DHHS94 (Dios Habla Hoy Estánder 1994)
Deutsch: Ich bin der gute Hirte. Der gute Hirte läßt sein Leben für seine schafe. Johannes 10,11 DELUT (Lutherbible 1912)
Ich bin der gute Hirte. Der gute Hirte lässt sein Leben für die schafe. Johannes 10,11 LUTHEUTE (luther.heute), SCH2000 (Schlachter 2000)
Also, for your enjoyment, I’ve included a link to a November 19, 2019 recording by Michael Eldridge singing a capella four-part harmony in a masterful upbeat rendition of The Ninety and Nine. The video’s subtitles are an aid in appreciating the song’s rich poetry.