Sermon Notes and Video
Scripture Focus- John 10:1-21
The imagery of shepherding is found throughout the Bible. Though far removed from much of modern life in the 21st Century, shepherding was a common occupation in the Middle East, and it still is in many parts of the world. A significant part of Israel is very rocky, and not that great for crops. The ground is rough and stony, and grass is sparse, but it worked for shepherding.
God is presented as the Shepherd of His people in the Bible. The description of God as Shepherd, contains some of the sweetest and most comforting words in all the Bible.
Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
God promises to provide for His people, lead, comfort and watch over them all the way home. The focus of a good earthly shepherd was to be on his flock- he was to guide them, provide for them, and protect them. The life of a shepherd was difficult working outside in the elements. There were cliffs and crevices the sheep could fall into. The shepherd had to always be vigilant- giving the sheep constant attention, caring for them and watching over them.
It was to be the same for a good spiritual shepherd of God’s people. There is a portrait of bad shepherds in the Old Testament. The leaders were taking advantage of their sheep for their own gain. They were not guiding them as they should have been and the sheep were scattered and vulnerable. Jeremiah 10:21 For the shepherds have become stupid, and have not sought the Lord; therefore they have not prospered and all their flock is scattered.
It was predicted in prophesy that Jesus would come as the Shepherd of His people. Micah 5:2 You, Bethlehem, land of Judah are by no means least among the leaders of Judah, for out of you shall come forth a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.
We find a clear presentation of Jesus the Good Shepherd, in John 10. There is no break in the account from chapter 9 to chapter 10. It is the same time, the same people, and Jesus is still responding to the same situation. Chapter 9 is about a man who was born blind who became a beggar to survive. Jesus miraculously healed him and the religious leaders were in an uproar about it, eventually throwing the healed man out and wanting to kill Jesus.
The characters in chapter 9 are the leaders of Israel and are false shepherds who were leading the people astray. It is important to see the characteristics of Jesus the Good Shepherd of His people.
Characteristic #1 Jesus the Good Shepherd calls His sheep by name and they follow Him. Vv1-6
To understand the first six verses- you need to understand what a sheepfold was in those days. Shepherds would graze their flocks in the field during the day. Each village would have a common walled in fold, where each evening the shepherds would bring their sheep. There was one door, and typically that was the only opening.
Sheep are helpless, and defenseless animals. They require constant care to survive and thrive. As the sheep would enter into the fold, each shepherd would stop his sheep and check them over one by one as they came in. The shepherd would drop his rod over each sheep as this took place. That is why Ezekiel 20 tells us someday God will cause His people to pass under His rod (vv37-38).
The doorkeeper was usually an undershepherd, given the job of guarding the door by lying across it through the night, making sure wild animals or robbers would not enter to harm of even steal the sheep. ‘The sheepfold’ is representative of the family of God, of being sheep in God’s flock.
In the morning, the shepherds would return, the doorkeeper would open up the way for them, and each shepherd would call their sheep out to lead them to pasture for the day. The shepherds spent a lot of time with their sheep and knew each one of them personally.
Sheep literally will not respond to the voice of someone who is not their shepherd.
Phillip Keller- The relationship which rapidly develops between a shepherd and the sheep under his care is to a definite degree dependent on the use of the shepherd’s voice. Sheep quickly become accustomed to their owner’s particular voice. They are acquainted with its unique tone. They know its peculiar sounds and inflections. They can distinguish it from that of any other person. If a stranger should come among them, they would not recognize or respond to his voice in the same way they would to that of the shepherd.
Every detail of the shepherd’s life lights up the picture of the Good Shepherd whose sheep hear his voice and whose constant care is for his flock. Jesus the Good Shepherd, calls His sheep by name, because they belong to Him.
What does the voice of call of Jesus, the voice of Jesus, represent?
The call of Jesus, the voice of Jesus, represents the call of salvation.
Matthew 4:19 Come and follow Me. . .
The call of Jesus, the voice of Jesus, represents the call to obedience.
John 14:23 If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
Jesus the Good Shepherd calls His sheep out, leads them, goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow. This was what the shepherds would do. They would go ahead of the flock, looking out for dangers, making sure things were safe, leading them to good pasture and water.
Thieves (those who are cunning and break in while the owner is away, to steal something)
Robbers (more aggressive, people that only care about what they want and will take it by force)
Thieves and robbers represent false teachers who would try to draw the sheep away from the good shepherd-
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit.
The thieves and the robbers have no authority and no right and no ownership of the sheep.
When the infamous September 11 airplane barreled into the Pentagon, Officer Isaac Hoopii was nearby but outside the building. Immediately he began helping people straggle out of the building—in some cases, carrying them out. But Hoopii wanted to do more. Wearing only his short-sleeved blue police uniform—no mask, no protective coat, not even a handkerchief—he ran into the inky blackness of the Pentagon. Someone yelled at him to stop. “We gotta get people,” he shouted back. Suffocating on smoke, Hoopii heard the building cracking. He called out, “Is anybody in here? Anybody here?”
Wayne Sinclair and five coworkers were crawling through rubble and had lost all sense of direction when they heard Hoopii’s voice. They cried out, and Hoopii responded. “Head toward my voice. Head toward my voice.” Following his voice, Sinclair and the others soon made their way out of the crumbling building. Steve Gertz, Wheaton, Illinois; source: U.S. News & World Report (12-10-01), pp. 24-32
Jesus says come to My voice!
Characteristic #2 Jesus the Good Shepherd is the door of the sheep. Vv7-9
Jesus repeats the idea of thieves and robbers. He says all who came before Me were thieves and robbers. Jesus was referring to the wicked shepherds- the religious people who didn’t know God, the evil kings, the wayward priests, and all the false teachers.
‘I am the door’
Jesus is the Good Shepherd and is the Door. A door can be used to keep people out or it can be used to let people in.
Imagine yourself walking along a long wall. You are on the outside, but you can hear what is going on inside. There are joyful people and you are intrigued by what is inside. Finally you find yourself at a door. The door is unlocked, all you have to do is go through it. What would you do? You would go in.
V9b If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture.
What are we being saved from? Sin and Hell
What are we being saved to? Righteousness and heaven.
There are significant implications to Jesus saying, ‘I am the door.’ You may have heard it said that all roads lead to Heaven. How could that be? How could all approaches to God be correct? It is not biblical and it is not logical.
John 14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
If we were mapping our way to a destination, we would not pretend that all roads lead to the same place. Different roads have different destinations. Different flights have different arrivals. There is only one path that leads to God! Jesus as the door represents authority, access, and privilege. Through Him and Him alone, we come to God.
Ephesians 2:17-18 When the Messiah came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we have both access by One Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household.
Through the door you will find the love of God.
Through the door you will find the forgiveness of God.
Through the door you will find reconciliation with God.
Through the door you will find peace from God.
Characteristic #3 Jesus the Good Shepherd gives abundant life. V10
There is a contrast in v10-
The thief (Satan) comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy. The thief comes for selfish reasons to get and not give.
Jesus the Good Shepherd comes to gives abundant life. Abundant means “exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, more, so abundant that it would be beyond expectation or anticipation.
Abundant life= eternal life. It begins when we come through the door of Jesus into God’s family and continues through all eternity. The idea of abundant life means to have superabundance of something. Life is the main idea of John’s Gospel.
John 17:3 This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent- Jesus Christ.
Jesus promises and delivers a life far better than what we could imagine.
1 Corinthians 2:9 What eye did not see and ear did not hear, and what never entered the human mind- God prepared this for those who love Him.
Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us- to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.
Abundant life does not refer to big houses, fancy cars, or more money than we know what to do with. This is not the abundance of material things. This is the soul satisfaction of knowing God. There is no promise here of the easy life or instant deliverance.
Gorging yourself on the world and its sinful pleasures at first tastes good, but it ultimately will destroy you. Only Jesus ultimately satisfies the soul. Only Jesus can reconcile you to God and give you real life—abundant life—that begins now and continues through all eternity.
Abundant life is about a Relationship- Knowing God
Abundant life is about Privilege- Knowing What God Has Done
Abundant life is about Responsibility- Knowing How to Live for God
Characteristic #4 Jesus the Good Shepherd is gathering one flock. Vv14-16
Jesus laid down His life for the sheep. No one took it from Him. He says He had the right to lay it down and the right to take it up again. The faithful Shepherd had to be willing to lay down his life to protect His sheep. Thieves and robbers and wild animals like lions, bears, and wolves were a steady danger. The hired man doesn’t care about the sheep and when trouble comes, runs.
Jesus went beyond risking it, He laid down His life.
Look at v16 I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock, one shepherd.
The primary fold was Israel, God’s chosen people. Yet it was God’s intention from the beginning that His family would include Gentiles, non-Jews. This is the message of the Great Commission! God is gathering one flock, made up of people from all nations.
Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slaughtered, and You redeemed people for God by Your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation.
Do you know Jesus the Good Shepherd?