Summary: Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
THE I AM… STATEMENTS OF JESUS. There are many things about the Gospel of John that are unique and sets it apart from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. One of the distinctive characteristics of John’s Gospel is the highlighting of the “I AM…” statements of Jesus. These “I AM…” statements are significant and recorded in the canon of Holy Scripture for our benefit as they reveal to us who Jesus is. Jesus said “I AM the bread of life…” Jesus said “I AM the light of the world...” Jesus said “I AM the resurrection and the life…” Jesus said “I AM… the vine…” Jesus said “I AM the way, the truth and the life…” All of these “I AM” statements are packed full of meaning and significance as they reveal to us who Jesus is as the Promised Messiah who has come to accomplish salvation for His people. Not only do the “I AM” statements reveal to us who Jesus is as the Savior of His people but they also reveal to us how He relates to His people.
JOHN 10—THE GOOD SHEPHERD CHAPTER. The “I AM” statement of Jesus I would like for us to consider today is found in John 10. This chapter is chocked full of theological significance as Jesus speaks about life, death, salvation accomplished, sovereignty defined, His divine nature, etc… and all of this within the context His statement to the crowd about being the Good Shepherd to those whom He has come to save and those are His sheep.
JOHN 10:11-18, 27-28
SHEEP NEED A SHEPHERD. Throughout the Scriptures people, especially God’s people, are referred to as sheep. In JOHN 10 alone Jesus uses the word “sheep” 13 times and every time it is used as a reference to His people. While, as I said earlier, this passage of Scripture is chocked full with great teaching, for the sake of the intent of this message I want to focus on three aspects of the passage that describes how the Good Shepherd relates to His sheep. In each teaching we are going to look at a how the Good Shepherd relates to His sheep through the lens of what it means to be sheep. Sheep need a good and committed shepherd who will lead, guide, protect, provide and care for them in order to survive and thrive in life. The fact that Jesus says that He is the GOOD SHEPHERD is GOOD NEWS to us who are sheep in need of leadership, protection and cleansing. As we have considered characteristics of sheep let us consider the person and work of our Good Shepherd. THE GOOD SHEPHERD…
LAYS DOWN HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP John 10:11b
While shepherds would take great risks for their sheep it is only the GOOD SHEPHERD who gives His life for His Sheep. While the crowd that day may not have understood the weight and implication of Jesus’ words at the point in which He spoke them we, because we have the record of God’s full plan of redemption, know that Jesus was speaking of the fact that He was going to GIVE HIMSELF TO DEATH ON BEHALF OF HIS SHEEP IN ORDER TO CLEANSE THE SHEEP OF ALL THEIR SIN.
A SUBSTITUTIONARY DEATH. The phrase “lay down His life” is unique to John’s Gospel and always refers to Jesus’ voluntary, sacrificial death. Jesus willingly gave Himself as the perfect sacrifice for sins. Furthermore, Jesus’ death was not for His own sin but for ours—His sheep. Therefore, when we consider the death that Jesus died we understand that not only did He die a voluntary death but He died a substitutionary death. On the Cross Jesus endured the wrath of God for the sheep and in their place so that the sheep are no longer seen in their filth and sin but as clean and righteousness because the Good Shepherd died for them and in their place.
• DIRTY RAGS. Jesus’ death on the Cross was necessary should we be made clean before our Holy God. Outside of Christ and His finished work on the Cross we stood before a Holy and Perfect God guilty and filthy because of our sin and like sheep there was nothing we could do about it. ISAIAH 64:6 says “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” Even the best of our “good works” before God without Christ are like dirty dish towels at best. Because of sin we are filthy before God and there is nothing we can do about it.
SHEEP ARE FILTHY ANIMALS. The picture we draw in our minds of fluffy, white and cuddly sheep is not formed by observing sheep in their natural environment but by pictures, stuffed animals, television, etc… Sheep, in and of themselves, are dirty animals. They, much like pigs, root and roll around in their own mess and because they cannot clean themselves their wool smells to high heavens. At least pigs are washed off by rain from above but sheep, due to the nature of their wool, are not washed by the rain.