Summary: The Good Shepherd verses the Hired Hand.
• This is the 4th of the 7 I AM statements of Jesus. I AM held a significant meaning in the theological minds of Israel. Moses spoke to ‘I AM THAT I AM’ as he stood before the BURNING BUSH and asked ‘who shall I say is sending me?’.
Keith Miller writes, “Years ago, when our daughters were very young, we’d drop them off at our church’s children’s chapel on Sundays before the eleven o’clock service. One Sunday, just as I was about to open the door to the small chapel, the minister came rushing up. He said he had an emergency and asked if I’d speak to the children at their story time. He said the subject was the Twenty-third Psalm. Just as I was about to get up from the back row and talk about the good shepherd, the minister burst into the room and signaled to me that he would be able to do the story time after all. He told the children about sheep, that they weren’t smart and needed lots of guidance, and that a shepherd’s job was to stay close to the sheep, protect them from wild animals and keep them from wandering off and doing dumb things that would get them hurt or killed. He pointed to the little children in the room and said that they were the sheep and needed lots of guidance. Then the minister put his hands out to the side, palms up in a dramatic gesture, and with raised eyebrows said to the children, “If you are the sheep then who is the shepherd?” He was pretty obviously indicating himself. A silence of a few seconds followed. Then a young visitor said, “Jesus, Jesus is the shepherd.” The young minister, obviously caught by surprise, said to the boy, “Well, then, who am I?” The little boy frowned and then said with a shrug “I guess you must be a sheep dog.” I remember the look on that young minister’s face every time I get to thinking that I’m the shepherd in charge of some of God’s sheep. There’s only one shepherd of the flock—and I’m not He.”
11 "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 "He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 "He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 "I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 "I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. 17 "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father."
THE DIFFERENCE KNOWING THE GOOD SHEPHERD MAKES: 11 "I am the good shepherd;….