The Call to Submit

We do not like the idea of submitting to others. Submission in the sport of wrestling is a loss. Submission to our bosses sometimes creates resentment. Submission to people in power can be unpleasant. Submission means we release our power, our self, our pride. We do not like the idea of submission, but for the disciple of Jesus Christ, to answer His call is to submit to Him.

As we look at Four Calls To Discipleship we have talked about the call to love God and others, and the call to commit. The Call to Submit – to allow someone else to be in charge. It is important to know the One to whom we submit.

All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Here we are, your own flesh and blood. Even while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led us out to battle and brought us back. The Lord also said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will be ruler over Israel.’” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron. King David made a covenant with them at Hebron in the Lord’s presence, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began his reign; he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah.

2 Samuel 5:1-5, CSB

In 2 Samuel 5:1-5 there is a story of victory and celebration. David has been appointed King of Israel. He had been chosen from the fields a long time ago. Now Saul is dead and David will be allowed to be King. David’s first move is to bring the Ark of the Covenant – the presence of God – back into Jerusalem where it belongs. (2 Samuel 6:1-5) The Celebrating was hearty, ecstatic, joyful. Israel has a King they can love and to whom they submit. The imagery in this text gives us some insight into the disciple’s relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Shepherd King in the Old Testament

2 Samuel 5:2 “You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will be ruler over Israel.

The idea of shepherding would come naturally to David. Shepherding father’s sheep, Samuel called him to be king. Shepherding is all about feeding the lambs and the sheep, bringing them to good pasture lands and water, grooming and clipping them, delivering new lambs, leading them and teaching them to stay together, going off after wandering lost ones, and protecting the sheep in the field and in the fold. (Simpson)

The Shepherd King Imagery in Prophecy

Micah 5:4 He will stand and shepherd them in the strength of the Lord, in the majestic name of the Lord his God….

Ezekiel 34:23 I will establish over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will shepherd them. He will tend them himself and will be their shepherd.

Matthew 2:6 And you, Bethlehem … out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.

These statements foreshadow the kind of King Jesus would be. Disciples submitting to Jesus are pictured as sheep being in submission to a caring gentle shepherd.


He Watches Over Us
Shepherds keep a wide-open eye, constantly searching the horizon for the possible approach of enemies. There were floods, animals, birds of prey, beasts of prey, humans. Jesus knows we face an enemy we cannot defeat.

John 10:10 A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

In every struggle, we have a Shepherd who is aware of our pain and hardship, cares, moves in our behalf.

He Guides Us

Sheep cannot go to predetermined places by themselves. They cannot start out in the morning in search of pasture and then come home at evening time. They have, apparently, no sense of direction. The greenest pasture may be only a few miles away, but the sheep left to themselves cannot find it. Where the shepherd leads, the sheep will go.

Psalm 23:2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

We depend on the Word of God and the knowledge of His ways to guide us through the difficulties of life.

He Heals us

It is not uncommon for there to be sheep who are lame and ailing, and upon this invalid, the shepherd bestowed more abundant care. The nature of his calling compelled a shepherd to be a doctor and a nurse.

Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus the Good Shepherd is a healer. Sometimes physically, always spiritually.

He Provides for us.

The feeding of the sheep is an essential duty of the shepherd. Sheep cannot feed themselves nor water themselves. They must be led to water and pasture.

Isaiah 40:11 He protects his flock like a shepherd; he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them in the fold of his garment. He gently leads those that are nursing.

Jesus claims to be the Good Shepherd, and one of the grounds of His claim is that He feeds us … who knows the many ways that Jesus brings us nourishment.

He Seeks Us Out and Saves Us

Sheep easily get lost. A sheep will keep his nose to the ground following the strip of the greenest grass, little by little separating himself from his companions until at last, his companions are completely out of sight and the poor isolated animal doesn’t how where he is. When once he realizes his lost condition, he rushes around without direction. A lost sheep does not get home.

This describes us in many ways.

“What man among you, who has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it? When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who don’t need repentance.

Luke 15:3-7, CSB

He lays down his life for us

The shepherd would at night lay down in the gate physically to protect the sheep from wolves coming into the sheepfold. He literally put his life on the line for the sheep.

John 10:11, 14 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. … “I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me…

He Loves Us.

It was not necessary that he should give to each sheep a name, but he did it because he liked them. In defending them he was willing to lay down his life.

John 10:3 The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

This is the crowning virtue of the shepherd—his self-sacrificing love. Love is the great nourisher at life’s feast.


To be a disciple of Jesus is to submit to the Gentle Shepherd of our souls. We submit because we have been sheep without a shepherd and that is never good.

1 Peter 2:25 For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Submitting your life to the Shepherd

  • Begins with trusting Him to lead you even when it’s hard to see the way yourself.
  • Listening to the Shepherd and following his instructions.
  • Obeying the Shepherd in changing the patterns of life from self-directed to Jesus-directed.
  • Identifying with the Shepherd in baptism.
  • Following the rest of your days.
  • Allowing the Shepherd to lead you home when you wander.

Every once in a while, a ewe will give birth to a lamb and reject it. There are many reasons she may do this. If the lamb is returned to the ewe, the mother may even kick the poor animal away. Once a ewe rejects one of her lambs, she will never change her mind.

These little lambs will hang their heads so low that it looks like something is wrong with its neck. Their spirit is broken. These lambs are called “bummer lambs.”

Unless the shepherd intervenes, that lamb will die, rejected and alone. So, do you know what the shepherd does? He takes that rejected little one into his home, hand-feeds it and keep it warm by the fire. He will wrap it up with blankets and hold it to his chest so the bummer can hear his heartbeat.

Once the lamb is strong enough, the shepherd will place it back in the field with the rest of the flock. But that sheep never forgets how the shepherd cared for him when his mother rejected him. When the shepherd calls for the flock, guess who runs to him first? That is right, the bummer sheep. He knows his voice intimately. It is not that the bummer lamb is loved more, it just knows intimately the one who loves it. It’s not that it is loved more, it just has experienced that love one on one.

So many of us are bummer lambs, rejected and broken. But Jesus is the good Shepherd. He cares for our every need and holds us close to His heart so we can hear His heart beat. We may be broken but we are deeply loved by the Shepherd.

Sheila Walsh, “Loved back to life”

Do you think of Jesus as “Shepherd” very often? When you think of that, what quality most stands out to you?What is your initial reaction to being called a “sheep”? Do we find it easier to think of ourselves or others as sheep? What about being a “sheep” is uncomfortable for you? What is it about being a “sheep” that draws us to Jesus?

Why do you think that the people in 2 Samuel 5 were so happy to have David as their king?

David was ‘a man after God’s own heart’ but he also was a broken figure at times. What qualities did God see in David that singled him out as such a special person to God?

Jesus talks about being the Good Shepherd at length in John 10:1-18. Read this together as a group. What do you notice in this text that relates to your life? Identify and Contrast the following characters in this text with the Shepherd:

Robber (vs 1

Thief (vs 10)

Hired Hand (vs 12)

Wolf (vs 12b)

What would it mean to “know his voice” (vs. 4-5)

Who are the ‘other sheep’? What would that mean to his hearers at the scene? Can you relate various ways people have interpreted this statement? (vs 16)

What other thoughts did you want to talk about regarding Jesus being our Shepherd to whom we should submit our lives?

The Responsibilities Of A Good Shepherd by Sandy Simpson

What Does A Shepherd Do? Kyle Lent

Loved Back to Life – Sheila Walsh