Summary: Jesus made some incredible claims. Was He crazy? A lunatic? A liar? Was He actually telling the truth and therefore should be viewed as Lord?
Liar, Lunatic or Lord?
Pt. 2 - Shepherd
Lie Detector Test
Have you ever dealt with someone who couldn't or wouldn't tell the truth? It is maddening. They can't even remember all the lies they told. So, we come up with stuff like "Liar, liar pants on fire!" Then there are those that are crazy. You know that person who only has one oar in the water. They are a few clowns short of a circus. Most of us have dealt with folks like this, but have you ever stopped to think that there were days when people thought these things about Jesus? I remind you that not only did Jesus' family, but the religious leaders of His day thought that at times!
Mark 3:20-21 (NIV)
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
John 8:58-59 (NIV)
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
When Jesus uses this phrase, and this isn't the first time, the leaders consider it blasphemy. Jesus is saying in no uncertain terms that He is God Himself. It is these "I am" statements that made the people of His day wrestle with Jesus’ identity. We too need to wrestle with His identity.
CS Lewis said . . .
"You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.”
He claimed to be The Bread of Life, The Light of the world, and now in John 10, He makes two additional and related claims.
TEXT: John 10:7, 9, 11, 14-15 (NIV)
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
We miss that the way Jesus would have said this in His native tongue which was "The Sheep Gate . . . I am and The Good Shepherd . . . I am!"
Here is Jesus the One who came from Bethlehem, where the sacrificial lambs were raised and kept until the Day of Atonement, who enters Jerusalem on the day of His crucifixion through the gate they called "The Sheep Gate" standing and declaring that He is the Sheep Gate and The Good Shepherd
Is He a liar? Is He a Lunatic?
What is Jesus saying? What does He mean?
The only point of entry.
It would seem to be a little surprising that before He claims to be The Good Shepherd, Jesus first says that He is the gate or door to the sheep pen. Too many want the benefits of the Good Shepherd before they come through the door. We want the blessings of Jesus without allowing Him to direct and discipline us! However, only those who come through Jesus can experience the benefits of having Him as a shepherd. The benefits are described in verse 10 of that same chapter . . . life and life more abundant. Protection from the enemy. In order to access those benefits you must first come through the door. You must gain access. You gain access by entering through Jesus. He would drive this point home in John 14:6, when He states . . . No man gets to the Father but through me. He is the only point of entry. You don't gain access any other way. Any other way is considered climbing over the wall. At sundown the sheep would be led into an enclosure that only had one entry point. they were considered a thief or a robber and the shepherd who slept in the doorway and became a human gate would fight to protect the real sheep. If anyone tries to gain entry any other way - by works, by reputation, by last name, by riding someone else's relationship with God, or any other attempt to reconcile with God other than through the Gate, Jesus is an illegitimate approach. Jesus determines who gets in. You can go back and read the 9th Chapter of John and you see at the end of it that Jesus has healed a blind man and the religious leaders investigate and end up throwing this once blind man out of the temple and declare that he is steeped in sin. It is at this point that Jesus steps up in response and declares that these folks are not the sheep gate, but that He is and because He is the door, He also lets them know that the exclusive club that kept others out is over. Since Jesus is the door, He alone would decide who can enter and who can’t! Because Jesus is the door . . .