Continuing in our Christmas Series, Pastor Ray shares from John Ch. 10 as Jesus reveals Himself as the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd comforts, cares for, and corrects His sheep. Are you one of His sheep? Do you hear His voice calling you? Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and He lays down His life for our sins, as King and Savior!
“But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” John 10: 2-4
A background knowledge of the Old Testament concerning the true shepherd of Israel is vital to a proper understanding of Who Jesus is proclaiming to be in John 10.
Almighty God appears throughout the Old Testament as the true shepherd of Israel:
- The Lord is my shepherd (Psalms 23:1).
- We are thy people and the sheep of thy pasture (Psalms 79:13).
- Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock (Psalms 80:1).
- For He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand (Psalms 95:7).
The whole 34th chapter of Ezekiel is given over to this metaphor of God as the good shepherd and the false leaders as the evil shepherds. So what Jesus is saying here in John 6 is that He is Deity. He is The Shepherd that is spoken of in the Old Testament.
- 1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
- 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
- 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.18 No man taketh 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 commandment have I received of my Father.19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
- 22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
- 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.30 I and my Father are one.
- 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
- Matt 9.36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
- Luke 19.10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
- John 10.11 I am the good shepherd (lit. I am The Shepherd, The Good One) the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
The atonement of Jesus is unlimited in the sense that Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the world. (1 John 2.2). He is the Bread of Life sent from The Father to give life to the world (John 6.51).
- Eph 5.2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
The atonement of Jesus is particular in its efficacy in that it is only applied to His bride the church.
The atonement of Jesus is personal. Paul said Jesus loved him and gave Himself for him (Gal 2.20).
- 10.12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
- 10.13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
- 10.14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
The obvious contrast that Jesus is making here is between Himself, The Good Shepherd, and hirelings, or bad shepherds.
Hireling- Jesus uses this term to identify the religious leaders of the day (and any day for that matter) who perform their duty in good times but who never display sacrificial care for the sheep in times of danger. They stand in contrast to Jesus, who laid down his life for his flock
The wolf … was Jesus’ usual designation of false teachers (Matthew 7:15ff); but here it is used to describe the dangers and perils of shepherding. When a hireling sees danger coming, he will forsake the sheep and run away to protect himself.
Jesus, The Good Shepherd is not like that at all. As The Good Shepherd, Jesus gave His life for His sheep; Ps.22. As The Great Shepherd [He.13:20], Jesus cares for His sheep Ps.23. As The Chief Shepherd [1Pet.5:4], Jesus is coming again in glory and power.
- Isa 40.11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
- 1 Pet 5.4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
Verse 14 tells us that the Good Shepherd knows His sheep and that they know Him- That puts all of us today in one of two categories. You are either one of His sheep or you are not. To know Jesus Christ in a saving way means that you have a personal relationship with Him.
- 2 Tim 1.12 I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
- 1 John 5.20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life
The Old Testament often described Israel’s covenant relationship with God as “knowing” him, which meant having an intimate and obedient relationship with him (e.g., Jer 31:34; Hos 6:6).
This is a recurrent theme in John. Jesus acts and speaks out of His intimate relationship with the Father.
The surprising analogy in vv. 14–15 is that the intimacy between Father and Son is compared to the intimacy between Son and followers (cf. 14:23). John focuses on the Hebrew connotation of “know” as intimate fellowship, not cognitive facts. Jesus knows the Father; those who know Jesus, know God!
- 10.15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Layeth down his life for his sheep … What is this if not a prophecy of the cross? In the OT the sheep died for the shepherd; Christ is the Shepherd who dies for the sheep!
As an Old Testament believer, if you wanted to be enter into fellowship with God, you would bring a lamb to the temple. There, the priests would carefully inspect and scrutinize that lamb for any spot or blemish. It was not the worshiper who was judged. It was the lamb. In this lies a fabulous biblical and practical truth. As we learned in last post in this series, we can come boldly before the throne of grace to find mercy and grace to help in time of need because the Lamb has been inspected and found perfect. Worthy is the Lamb.
Jesus is not only the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world; He is the Good Shepherd Who lays down His life for His sheep.
- 10.16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Jesus was speaking to the Jews, who had been frequently spoken of in Scripture as God’s flock. The other sheep were Gentiles (cp. Isa 56.6-8).
One fold speaks of the one body of Christ made up of many sheep in many denominations. One Shepherd of course is The Lord Jesus Christ, that Great Shepherd of the sheep.
One fold, one Shepherd. Unity in the body of Christ is not our responsibility—it’s reality (Eph 2.11-16) Our responsibility is to maintain the unity of The Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4.1-3)
- 10.17 Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.
- 10.18 No man taketh 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 commandment have I received of My Father.
Jesus repeated this phrase twice in these two verses indicating that his sacrificial death was not the end. Jesus’ resurrection was the singular sign and demonstration of His Messiah-ship and deity (Rom. 1:4). His death and resurrection resulted in his ultimate glorification (John 12:23 17:5) and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (7:37–39; cf. Acts 2:16–39)
- 10.19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.
- Luke 12.51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division.
In one sense Jesus Christ is the most divisive person Who ever lived for the simple reason that you cannot be neutral about Him. You are either for Him or against Him.
You cannot be for Jesus and against His Word. For Jesus and embrace any other gospel. For Jesus and for Islam or for Hinduism or any other ism.
- 10.20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye Him?
- 10.21 Others said, these are not the words of Him that hath a devil;. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
- 10.22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication (Hanukkah) and it was winter.
The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, which celebrates the Israelite victory over the Syrian leader Antiochus Epiphanes, who persecuted Israel. In c. 170 b. c. he conquered Jerusalem and desecrated the Jewish temple by setting up a pagan altar to displace the altar of God. Under the leadership of an old priest named Mattathias (his family name was called the Hasmoneans), the Jews fought guerrilla warfare (known as the Maccabean Revolt—166–142 b. c.) against Syria and freed the temple and the land from Syrian dominance until 63 b. c. when Rome (Pompey) took control of Palestine. It was in 164 b. c. on 25 Chislev (December approximately), that the Jews liberated the temple and rededicated it. The celebration is also known as the “Feast of Lights” because of the lighting of lamps and candles in Jewish homes to commemorate the event. (JMac Study Bible)
- 10.23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.
- 10.24 Then came the Jews round about Him, and said unto Him, How long dost Thou make us to doubt, if Thou be the Christ, tell us.
They did not want to know that Jesus was the Christ (Messiah) in order to embrace Him. They wanted Him to proclaim that He was the Messiah kin order that they might accuse Him of blasphemy and seek to kill Him, which we will see in a moment is exactly what happened.
There is always that frightening possibility when one stubbornly resists the call of Jesus Christ that maybe they are not one of His. Could that be you? Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart.
- 10.25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in My Father’s Name, they bear witness of Me.
- 10.26 But ye believe not, because ye are not on My sheep, as I said unto you.
- 2 Cor 4.3,4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
And herein is a great mystery in the plan of salvation. Yes, we told to pray for the lost. Yes we are commanded to go into the entire world and preach the gospel, having our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
But at the end of the day beloved, Jesus said in John 6.44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him and in John 6.65 no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
The desire to come to Jesus is a gift from God. The willingness to come to Jesus is a gift from God. The ability to come to Jesus is a gift from God. Blind men cannot make themselves see. Hearing impaired people cannot make themselves hear. Dead men do not walk out of caskets…..salvation is a gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.
- John 10.27-31 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.
Then the Jews took up stones to stone Him.
My sheep hear My voice- Let’s roll back to 1st century sheep & shepherds. At night flocks were brought to a sheepfold and committed to the care of the keeper/porter. In the morning the shepherds knocked at the barred door and the porter would open from within (or, sometimes the porter would sit in its entrance & become the door itself). Each shepherd would separate his sheep by giving a call. When summoned the flock would follow its shepherd because it knew its shepherds voice.
The majority of us have heard the Shepherd’s voice. It is my prayer that many of you who have yet to come to Christ will hear Him calling you by His Spirit today.
I give unto them eternal life- Who but God could make a promise like this? The utmost security of those who have trusted in Christ alone for their salvation lies in the fact that no external power shall ever be able to dislodge them from the Master’s love and protection.
The security of Jesus’ sheep rests with Him as the Good Shepherd, Who has the power to keep them safe. Neither thieves and robbers (vv. 1 8) nor the wolf (v. 12) can harm them.
Verse 29 makes clear that the Father ultimately stands behind the sheep’s security, for no one is able to steal from God, who is in sovereign control of all things.
But lest we have a “soft, easy believism” understanding of the message of human side of the atonement, it is cited elsewhere what the effect of the Jesus dying for us is to have upon our lives.
- Titus 2.14 Who gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
- 1 Peter 2.24 Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Assurance must be balanced with perseverance. Assurance must be based on the character and actions of the Triune God.
The Gospel of John asserts the assurance of those who continue to put their faith in Christ. A truly born again person is an individual who is abiding in Christ. Continuing faith is the evidence of true salvation. Faith and trust in The Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation and cause of true salvation.
Salvation is not a product (life insurance, ticket to heaven), but a growing personal relationship with God through Christ.
I and My Father are one. One” here literally means “one in substance and nature.” The claim that He and The Father are one, echoes the Shema, the basic confession of Judaism ( Dt 6:4 ) and amounts to a claim to deity. Jesus’ unity with the Father is later said to be the basis on which Jesus’ followers are to be unified ( Jn 17:22 ).
To stone Him- The blasphemer by judicial process of the Sanhedrim was to be stoned. Because Jesus was claiming equality with The Father by saying that He and The Father are one, He was guilty of blasphemy. In their own language, Jesus was making the claim of deity, which is why they took up stones to stone Him. Thus we have another proof text confirming the absolute deity of The Lord Jesus Christ.
Another time that they tried to stone Jesus was when He said in John 8.58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am (Ex 3.14).
One of the most beloved Psalms in the Bible is the 23rd Psalm: Listen to a breakdown of this Psalm and what it means for those who turn to Jesus as Savior and Lord. The Lord is my Shepherd – That’s Relationship! I shall not want – That’s Supply! He makes me to lie down in green pastures – That’s Rest! He leads me beside the still waters – That’s Refreshment! He restores my soul – That’s Healing! He leads me in the paths of righteousness – That’s Guidance! For His name sake – That’s Purpose! Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death – That’s Testing! I will fear no evil – That’s Protection! For Thou art with me – That’s Faithfulness! Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me – That’s Discipline! Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies – That’s Hope! Thou anoints my head with oil – That’s Consecration! My cup runs over – That’s Abundance! Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life – That’s Blessing! And I will dwell in the house of the Lord – That’s Security! Forever – That’s Eternity!
Our consumer driven society has crept into the bloodstream of the church today. The essence of the gospel is not what Jesus will do for you—it’s Who He is and what He has already done for you when He died for your sin. Because Jesus bore the wrath of God we deserved, our sins past, present, and future are forgiven in totality. Thus, the gospel is not, “Come to Jesus so that you can buy a new car,” or, “Come to Jesus and you will not have any more problems in your life.” The gospel is that we are hell deserving, self destructive sinners by nature and choice but God The Father in His rich mercy and grace for us sent His Son Jesus to pay the sin debt that I owed and absorb the wrath that I deserve in order that I could become one of His sheep and have fellowship with Him.
The gospel is “Come to Jesus right now!” because Jesus Christ died for your sins.”
- 1 Pet 2.25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
While it is true that Jesus would call us in discipleship to take up our cross daily and follow Him, it is vital for us to remember that my entry into the presence of the Father is not based upon who I am, what I do, or what I don’t do. It is based upon who He is, and what He did on the Cross. The Shepherd became a Lamb that we as His sheep might know the Shepherd.
Will you come to receive Christ as your Good Shepherd today?