The Good Shepherd

“The Good Shepherd,” Friend, Sept. 1995, 48

The Good Shepherd

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory (A of F 1:10).

The Savior once said, “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11). A good shepherd will give his life to protect his sheep. He knows each sheep by name. The sheep know his voice and follow him and none other. If a sheep is lost, a good shepherd will search endlessly for it to bring it safely back to the fold.

A fold is a large enclosure with only one entrance. Many shepherds shared a fold. One shepherd would be assigned to stand guard during the night to see that no wolves or thieves broke into the fold to harm or steal the sheep. The other shepherds went home. In the morning they returned for their sheep. Only those shepherds the guard recognized were let into the fold. Each sheep knew its shepherd’s voice and gathered around him to be led out of the fold into the pasture to feed.

A good shepherd is different from a hired shepherd, who is paid to look after someone else’s sheep. A hired shepherd “seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

“The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. …

“I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:12–15.)

How do we become the Savior’s sheep? The Lord said, “He that will hear my voice shall be my sheep” (Mosiah 26:21).

Even after we become His sheep, we have to continue to follow Him. Moroni said that the Lamanites, “were once a delightsome people, and they had Christ for their shepherd; yea, they were led even by God the Father” (Morm. 5:17). But when they stopped following the teachings of the Lord, “behold, they [were] led about by Satan, even as chaff is driven before the wind, or as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her; and even as she is, so are they” (Morm. 5:18).

The Savior has laid down His life for us. He will protect us from spiritual dangers if we follow His voice. If we do what is wrong and stray from His word, He through the aid of His servants will find us and try to bring us back to safety. He knows each of us by name. And if we learn to recognize His voice and follow it, He will lead us back to Heavenly Father’s presence.

The Lord has revealed that in the last days He will gather all His sheep from the nations of the earth, “and there shall be one fold and one shepherd. …

“And the Holy One of Israel reigneth.” (1 Ne. 22:25–26.)

Painting by Warner Sallman

Painting courtesy Visual Resource Library