Meaning of The Good Shepherd in Biblically
Themed Western Painting
The Good Shepard is one of the earliest
Christian symbols in Western art history. Throughout times
past Biblically themed art-works
from the Byzantine period
through the High
darkly mystical, infused with an ethereal passionate intensity and rich
For the Lamb at the
center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to
springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their
eyes. -- Rev. 7:17
The Good Shepherd symbolizes Christ the
am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for His sheep"
The Shepherd represents Jesus who will
search devotedly for even one lost Child of God until it is found. (Luke
Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15)
Now the tax collectors and
"sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and
the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats
Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep
and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open
country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he
finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he
calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I
have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will
be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over
ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Parable The Shepherd and His Flock (John 10)
tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the
gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man
who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens
the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own
sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own,
he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know
his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will
run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice."
Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he
was telling them.
Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.
All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did
not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be
saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes
only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have
life, and have it to the full.
"I am the good shepherd. The good
shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand is not the
shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he
abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and
scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares
nothing for the sheep.
"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep
and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the
Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other
are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen
to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up
again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own
have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This
command I received from my Father."
At these words the Jews were again
divided. Many of them said, "He is demon-possessed and raving
mad. Why listen to him?"
But others said, "These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a
demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"
Bosch is rare in that he depicted his revelations and prophecies for
the world to see. I believe his work has survived for a reason. Bosch's
phantasmagoric images of rapture and torment have a extraordinary
importance in the 21st century. As an artist he exhibited a vision that
was grim, immeasurable in scope and divine. -- Ella R. Rissole, NYC,
paintings are an intricate and rich matrix of both mystery and
discovery. His work is "internally" directed and can only be described
as 'fantastic' and 'visionary'. Some figures are carefully rendered;
others evolve more playfully and seem thrown into the composition. I
have 5 Heironymus Bosch prints and have found that they change each
time I look at them. -- Captain Raymont Timothy Grimm, Denver, Colorado
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