The Great I Am – The Good Shepherd
June 6, 2004
Review: We’ve been studying the self descriptive statements of Jesus from John known as the “I am” discourses. These 7 statements help us to realize that Jesus was the great “I am” of the O.T., who has become flesh in the N.T. to seek and to save each of us who are lost.
Trans: This AM we are going to look at the most famous of the “I am” statements – The Good Shepherd. (Read John 10:11-18) Before we go any further in this text, I want to consider first not the shepherd, but his sheep.
• Dirty Their wool gets dirty and they can’t do anything about it.
• Defenseless Sheep have no means to protect themselves.
• Dependent Keller says sheep require more attention than any animal.
• Dumb Sheep if left to themselves will destroy themselves.
Joke: A typical blonde had gotten sick of all the blond jokes so one day she decided to get a makeover – cutting and dying hair. After buying a new convertible, she set out for a drive in the country where she came across a herd of sheep. She decided to stop and talk w/ the shepherd. After a few minutes of chit-chat, she said I have a proposition – if she could guess the total number of sheep can I have one. The shepherd agreed but was absolutely shocked when she guessed correctly – 382. He kept his promise and allowed her to pick one out to take home. After the woman picked out her sheep and put it in her car, the shepherd said he had a proposition for her – If I can guess your real hair color, can I have my dog back?
Trans: Throughout the Bible the Lord calls us sheep b/c we too are dirty, defenseless, dependent and dumb, yet He calls himself the Good Shepherd.
Verse: I am the Good Shepherd… (Let’s break it down)
Note: As we have been discussing throughout this series, when Jesus says, “I am,” He is depicting Himself as one w/ Yahweh – “I, even I, and only I am…”
Ordinarily, the Israelites considered this name too holy to be spoken by human lips. In fact, it was so revered that it was only pronounced one day a year on the Day of Atonement. If the name had to be written, the scribe would take a bath before writing it and then destroy the pen afterward.
Note: Good (kalos) means beautiful and valuable – Jesus is beyond being morally good but is also excellent and pre-imminent in every feature – incapable of doing anything bad. He is good in every attribute as God is good.
Note: To the listeners that day, this would have been shocking and scandalous. In their minds only God is good and King David was their shepherd. And yet Jesus was declaring Himself to be their shepherd and their God.
Insert: MacArthur points out that Jesus is saying to them that He is greater than David. In John 6, in claiming to be the Bread of Life, Jesus claimed to be greater than Moses. In John 8, after declaring Himself to be the Light of the World, Jesus says that “Before Abraham was born, I am!
It is as if throughout the book of John, that Jesus lined up the heroes of the Jewish faith – the trifecta of Moses, Abraham, and David, and said, “I am infinitely elevated above everyone and everything b/c I am God.”
Point: Of course this would send the Pharisees into an uproar. First b/c they would consider this heresy and second b/c they considered them selves to be the shepherds of Israel – but now that Jesus has stepped onto the scene, He has exposed them as self-serving, self-centered frauds.
Trans: In verses 12-13, Jesus contrasts Himself w/ the religious leaders. He says that I am the shepherd and the Pharisees are nothing more than hirelings. And He says let me prove it!
I REDEMPTION The Good Shepherd Lays Down His Life
Text: "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep (puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary). A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs from it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He’s only in it for the money. The sheep don’t matter to him
Note: gives His life (huper) willing gives his life on behalf of to benefit another.
for – in the place of – (see Romans 5:8 – but God demonstrated His love…)
Insert: And as we know, Jesus died in our place – not as a martyr or b/c he was murdered – but b/c He willingly took our place as our substitute as the required payment for the penalty of our sins.
Quote: It cost God nothing, as far as we know, to create nice things, but to convert our rebellious wills, it cost Him crucifixion. C.S. Lewis
Insert: Sheep were raised in the shadows of the Temple for the single purpose of becoming a sacrifice. Yet he in the shadow of the Temple, the Good Shepherd is about to lay down His life once and for all for the sheep.
Trans: Now contrast that w/ the hireling.
Note: Hired man – one paid to do the work of a mercenary. He has no vested interest. If things didn’t go just the right way or if they ran into a problem then they would abandon the sheep.
Why: B/c the sheep mean nothing to the hired man.
Story: This past week while on vacation at the beach, a storm blew in so fast the cabana boy didn’t have time to break down the chairs and umbrellas. When the rains came and the wind blew he ran for shelter – by the time the storm had passed, umbrellas were bent over, snapped, and chairs were forever banished to the ocean. I have a sneaking suspicion that if he had own the equipment he would have weathered the storm to salvage his investment.
Trans: That is what happens when those who are in it for personal gain and convenience meet up w/ difficulty – they run.
1 Runs in the face of danger
2 Leaves the sheep vulnerable to attack
3 In it for the money only
Trans: Let’s get practical for just a second. It is real easy to point the finger at someone else and make accusations questioning their commitment. But rather than looking at others, let’s take a look at ourselves.
Note: You say – I am committed to God! His church? Are you really?
• Is personal and corporate worship a priority?
• Is spending time growing and studying His Word a regular habit?
• Are you striving to be obedient in every aspect of your life?
• Are you a faithful steward or are you looking for an excuse?
• Are you using your gifts to serve His Church and Commission?
• Do you tell others about the validity of you relationship w/ God?
I could go on and on. But are you a follower of the Shepherd or a hireling?
II RELATIONSHIP The Good Shepherd Knows His Sheep
Text: "I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. You need to know I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They’ll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd. This is why the Father loves me: b/c I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again. I received this authority personally from my Father."
Note: He Knows (ginosko) His Sheep
Word: ginosko – to know experientially and was used as a Jewish idiom for physical intimacy. This is not book knowledge, but personal knowledge.
Point: Jesus knows you and wants you to know Him. He knows everything about you – good and bad – and He loves you anyway. You matter to Him.
Just as a shepherd knows the individual bleats and bahs of his sheep, the Good Shepherd knows every detail about us. (see Psalm 23)
1 He PROVIDES He knows our basic need
2 He PILOTS He knows our need for direction
3 He PROTECTS He knows our need for security
4 He PURSUES He knows our need for compassion
Note: It is a reciprocal relationship – He knows the sheep and the sheep know the shepherd. They know His voice, His touch, His compassion, His love, and His discipline – and we experience His leading every day. Do you know this relationship?
Trans: If today you say, “Pastor, I thought I knew the Good Shepherd, but I don’t know His voice, His touch, His compassion, His love, and His discipline.” Then either you have been lead astray by a hireling, or else you have become grossly detached from His flock. In either case, the Bible teaches us that the Good Shepherd has left the flock in search of you. Today, He is calling out to you and w/ His rod and staff he was to comfort you and bring you into His fold. Stop resisting Him and allow Him to care for you – come and get to know the Shepherd of your soul.
Story: A famous actor was once the guest of honor at a social gathering where he received many requests to recite favorite excerpts from various literary works. An old preacher, who happened to be there, asked the actor to recite the 23rd Psalm. The actor agreed on the condition that the preacher would recite it also. The actor’s recitation was beautifully intoned w/ great dramatic emphasis for which he received a lengthy standing ovation. The preacher voice was rough and broken from many years of preaching, and his dictation was anything but polished. But when he finished there was neither applause nor a dry eye in the room. After the gala had concluded, someone asked the actor what made the difference in the Psalm. He replied, “I know the Psalm, but he knows the Good Shepherd.”