Jesus as the Good Shepherd – John 10
Two weeks ago we left off at the end of John Ch. 9 where Jesus was in Jerusalem teaching and healing. He had just healed the blind man by putting mud in his eyes and having him wash in the pool of Siloam. Now in Ch. 10, Jesus is still teaching:
Vs 1-2 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.”
Thieves and robbers will attempt to get into the Kingdom of God dishonestly. Luke writes about this in the Book of Acts when Peter and the other Apostles with him were about to be killed by the Pharisees:
“When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them. Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. And he said to them: ‘Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing.
After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing;
but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.’ And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.” Acts 5:33-40
These other men that Gamaliel talks about were false teachers. They (and any other false teachers) were the thieves and robbers Jesus mentions. These are the guys that try to get into the Kingdom of God “some other way”, meaning other than by believing in Jesus and following His teachings.
Notice Gamaliel also says: ” if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.” Many, many people over the ages of time have tried to get rid of Jews and/or Christians. They can’t do it because they are fighting against the Creator of the universe!
Jesus is truly the shepherd of his sheep (us – His flock).
Jeremiah 31:10 “Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, And declare it in the isles afar off, and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, And keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’”
Jesus was prophesied in the Old Testament to be the “Good Shepherd”.
Vs 3-6 “‘To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.”
From David Guzik’s commentary: “In towns, sheep from many flocks were kept for the night in a common sheepfold, overseen by one “doorkeeper” who regulated which shepherds brought and took which sheep.”
Animals of all kinds are very responsive to particular calls, whistles, tones and noises. We used to keep goats at our place and I can make one particular noise and they will come running for feed. But if were to go to another ranchers place and make that same noise to his goats, they would completely ignore me because it means nothing to them. They are my goats, and they know my voice. They hear it and respond. I know them each by name, much like Jesus knows each of us by name. In Luke 12:6-7 Jesus says: “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” He knows each of us so intimately that He knows the number of hairs on my head! And that number changes moment by moment (always getting smaller). (:-)
Vs 7-10 “Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
How have the thieves (false teachers) that we talked about earlier come to “steal, kill, and destroy?” They would accomplish that by misleading and tricking men and women into believing in fake saviors, or that Jesus is no savior at all. By misleading someone into believing lies, the false teacher is preventing that person from going to heaven and instead when that person dies, he/she will be sentenced to eternal death. So the Liar stole them away from the truth, killed them (by allowing them to die believing in the lies), and destroyed them by allowing them to be eternally separated from God.
Instead, Jesus offers us abundant life! What is abundant life, what does He mean? I know it’s long, but check this out:
Ezekiel 34:11-15, 25-31 ‘For thus says the Lord GOD: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord GOD.’…I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid. I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore. Thus they shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and they, the house of Israel, are My people,” says the Lord GOD. “You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God,” says the Lord GOD.
What an incredible picture for us!
Vs 11-15 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”
A pastor is also considered a shepherd (an “under-shepherd”) of the local flock/church. From David Guzik:
“The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep: The bad shepherd thinks the flock exists for his benefit, but the good shepherd lives (and dies) for the good of the sheep.
The good shepherd sacrifices for the sheep
The good shepherd knows his sheep
The good shepherd is known by the sheep
The faithful pastor will, as an under-shepherd, display the same characteristics as the Good Shepherd. He will sacrifice for the sheep, know the sheep, and be known by them. He will be a shepherd and not a hireling who does not care about the sheep.”
Vs 16 “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”
These “other sheep” that Jesus refers to are the sheep that “are not of this fold” meaning “not of” the flock of Israel. This means the “non-Jewish” believers or Gentile believers. That’s me. Jesus is saying “I’m going to take care of them as well.” And He did take care of the Gentiles. How did He do that?
Vs 17-18 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
There are lots of examples of men and women willingly sacrificing their own lives for the lives of others – in the Bible and outside the Bible. Jesus certainly did that (“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself”). But Jesus is the only One who had the power to resurrect Himself (“I have power to take it again”).
And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:15
Jesus died for all – Jews and Gentiles alike.
Vs 19-21 “Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. And many of them said, “He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?” Others said, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
We talked a few weeks ago about the fact that you cannot take a serious look at Jesus without making a decision on what you believe. Jesus was one of three things: He was out of His mind crazy, or an absolute fake, or He was God. Some of the Jews standing there understood this when they said “Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Again from David Guzik (and I love this): “‘These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?’ Miraculous works like opening the eyes of the blind can be a valid testimony, but only in concert with faithfulness to the word of God. These people were right in looking at both the works and the words of Jesus.”
We have the words of Jesus right at our fingertips (the Bible), but we need to read it to be able to know the Truth from the lies of this world.