Summary: Jesus presents two more "I AM" statements in John 10; both of these speak of the deity of Jesus as well Him being the only way to eternal life.

“I AM the Good Shepherd” John 10:1-21

Today we look at John 10 as Jesus introduces Himself as the Good Shepherd. Raising and tending sheep was a great part of Old Testament and mid-eastern culture. In the Old Testament the “shepherd” was also a caretaker of God’s people, and God Himself was called the “Shepherd of Israel”, (Ps. 80:1, Ps. 23:1, Isa. 40:10-11, Eze 34:11-16) and now Jesus makes the same claim in John 10.

Remember the setting from last week as we ended with these words from John 9:39-41: "For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind." 40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, "Are we blind also?" 41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains.”

John 10: "Most assuredly, {this is the absolute truth!} 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. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper {or watchman} opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.

The Allegory of the “Shepherd of the Sheep”

Jesus gives this illustration of the Shepherd of the Sheep following his stunning statements from John 9. It is evident to Jesus that the religious leaders are those who are not entering by the door, but climbing up some other way, like a thief or a robber. They are more interested in “fleecing” the sheep than they are in guarding, nurturing and leading the sheep. There had been many warnings in the Old Testament to those who were leading falsely and a warning was certainly implied in what Jesus said here.

Ezekiel 34 had included a very clear example of this: 1 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: "Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered.”

A good Shepherd would know and call His sheep by name; He would not yelp using a general “sheep call.” Although many times a sheep pen would contain sheep from different owners, as the shepherd called his sheep by name, they would come and attentively follow him because His trusted voice was familiar to the sheep and they knew he would lead them to “green pastures and still waters.” Remember the words of Psalm 23, the most familiar chapter in the entire Bible: Verses 1-3: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.”

Israel’s leaders had been leading God’s people astray from the Good Shepherd of Israel, and so, even as the leaders could not see Jesus as the Light of the World and could not accept their own blindness, in their sinfulness, they did not understand what Jesus taught here because very clearly, they were NOT His sheep. The sheep that belong to the Lord HEAR and FOLLOW His voice because they are His sheep.

I am the Door of the Sheep

Look at verse 7: “Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly,{again, this is the absolute truth!} I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 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.”

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