Summary: This sermon touches on what members of a congregation - the sheep - are to look for in a shepherd and how they are to respond to a faithful one.
April 17, 2005 John 10:1-10
1 “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Jesus introduces this parable in the middle of a sort of tug of war. Jesus had just previously in chapter nine healed a man who had been blind from birth. He was rather well known, because people had seen him begging in a public area of Jerusalem for quite some time. This miracle had drawn the attention of many Jews - wondering how in the world such a miracle happened. However, when Jesus healed him, it was also a Sabbath Day. Therefore with this “major infraction” of the Sabbath, the Pharisees had a reason to debate as to whether this man was really healed - and if he was healed - whether the man who healed him was really from God. They didn’t want to believe that Jesus was from God. So, having already excommunicated the man who was healed, they were doing all they could to discredit him. In answer to their accusations and anger, Jesus gave this parable to the Jews who weren’t sure WHO Jesus was - whether they should follow Him as their Shepherd.
This parable was about some sheep in a sheep pen. It has three main characters - the sheep - the common person which needs to be led, the men trying to enter - those who try to pastor the sheep, and the gate - Jesus Christ. Sheep pens back then had walls that were tall enough so that a sheep and most regular animals could not get in, but humans could. He wanted the Jews who were trying to figure out who Jesus was to put themselves in the fur of a sheep and picture themselves as the ones in the sheep pen. He wanted to draw a common picture to them to help them figure out who to follow and who not to. Why don’t you try and do the same this morning? In this parable, we will see how -
The Gate Has a Pathway for the Sheep to Follow
I. Watch which way your shepherds are entering
Jesus started out, “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep.” As you sit in your sheep pen, Jesus says to you, “which way has the man come in?” Has your teacher entered through the gate - by the gate - or have I climbed over the wall? What does that mean? It’s really quite simple. Jesus very plainly said to his disciples in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” After Jesus rose from the dead he had one simple commission that He gave to His disciples. “He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47) It is the sole purpose of a true shepherd of Jesus Christ to do one thing - and that is to preach Christ, Christ, and more Christ as the way to salvation. Paul said to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 2:2 I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. Therefore, when some false teachers had come into the region of Galatia and leading people astray, Paul wrote to them in Galatians in 1:8, even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!