The Good Shepherd

Not too long ago, I was looking for a picture of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Honestly, I was expecting a picture of Jesus looking pretty docile and carrying a lamb with a serene sort of countenance. And, when I looked at western, classic European art, they had exactly this kind of image!

But, I got curious… how would other cultures portray it? So I looked at Eastern European art! And they portrayed it mostly as Jesus carrying a lamb with a severe kind of countenance, since Jesus is usually portrayed with a stern look on his face.

Then I looked at American colonial art from South America, and I found this:

The Good Shepherd, c. 17th century. Convento de la Concepción, Lima, Peru. Via
The Good Shepherd, c. 17th century. Convento de la Concepción, Lima, Peru.

It’s a stunning image and it really took me aback to see the suffering Jesus in the midst of His Passion carry the lamb. After all, when I hear of Him being the Good Shepherd, that is not the image that comes to mind! This is the kind of image that I expect to see when I look up images of Him carrying the cross! And besides, it seems like a huge creative leap to connect the Passion with the Good Shepherd.

But, the more I thought of it, the more I really liked the image. After all, in His parable of the Good Shepherd, what exactly is He talking about? Let’s look at the parable…

The Good Shepherd is willing to give up His life, and Christ is the Good Shepherd. So, when we see an image of Him suffering the Passion… this is exactly who He is. The Good Shepherd laying down His life… for us.

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for being the Good Shepherd and calling to us by name. Help us listen to Your voice when You call us.


Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of four, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer.

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