Summary: The third message in a series on the "I am" discourses found in the Book of John
The Great I Am – The Gate
May 9, 2004
Review: A few weeks ago, we began a study on the self descriptions of Jesus found in John known as the “I am” discourses – 7 statements made by Jesus to help us to realize that He was the great “I am” of the O.T., who came to seek and to save the lost.
Read: John 10:1-10
Intro: To refresh your memory, I want to remind you that this is one of the most misunderstood teachings of Jesus b/c people often miss the context. In chapter 9, Jesus had just healed a blind man who was taken to the Pharisees, but rather than rejoicing w/ the man, the Pharisees condemned and excommunicated him for being born blind claiming his sin was responsible for his condition.
This sermon grew out of our Lord’s confrontation w/ the Pharisees in their handling of this man and in their ambition to keep the masses under their influence. Jesus is speaking to the masses to help them understand that the way of the Pharisees is not the way of God – but rather that the way of God was through the grace and mercy he offered.
Trans: Jesus opened His sermon w/ a familiar illustration (shepherds and sheep) knowing that every one there would have some understanding.
In Christ’s day, sheep were kept two ways. The first way was in cities and villages. Usually there was a large holding corral where shepherds would bring their flocks to secure them at night – it was a public pen able to hold several flocks under the care of a porter whose duty was to guard the gate during the night and to admit the shepherds in the AM. The shepherds would walk into the pen, call their sheep and the sheep would respond to the voice of their shepherd who would lead them out to pasture.
The second way was how a shepherd would tend his sheep in the country. A shepherd would herd his sheep into a low walled enclosure of piled rocks w/ a small opening. At night, since there was no gate, just an opening, the shepherd would lie across the opening to keep the sheep in and the wild animals out – he would literally become the door. I believe Jesus refers to both of these in this text for two distinct reasons. First, Jesus was trying to expose the false teaching of the Pharisees while secondly, He is introducing Himself as the truth of God.
vs. 1-6: Jesus is speaking of the communal pen where shepherds were allowed entrance by permission from the porter.
Trans: Jesus is trying to help the people to understand that the Pharisees weren’t really their shepherds but false teachers and only people who attend to them like He does are actually their spiritual shepherds.
I The ALLEGATION vs. 1
Verse: 1 I assure you: Anyone who doesn’t enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber
Note: Access to the sheep could only be granted by one of two ways. Either you had to enter by the way of the porter or you had to sneak in over the wall. Jesus made a very clear indictment concerning the teachers of the law and priests who regarded themselves as shepherds of the people – He was saying, true shepherds come by the way of the porter (God) to care for you, but the Pharisees are thieves who are trying to lead you astray.
Note: Jesus calls these men thieves (kleptes – one who steals w/ stealth) and robbers (lestes – one who takes w/ violence). The first steals by hiding it underneath his coat while the second steals it at gun point – False teachers
Point: There are those who will use cunning deception to lead others astray and there are those who will use force and manipulation to get their way. And Jesus is declaring that the Pharisees are false teachers.
II The ASSOCIATION vs. 2-4
Trans: I think it is important to understand the message here – there are many false teachers about us knowingly and unknowingly leading people astray. In fact, I dare say that the vast majority of the Pharisees thought that they were doing the right thing – yet they were dead wrong. They were religion w/out relationship – and Christianity is religion w/ relationship.
Note: It is not a coincidence that Jesus refers to us as sheep – were dumb. We’ll follow someone b/c they tickle our ears or rub our tummies not realizing that they are leading us astray. (Koresh/Manson/Space People)
Trans: It is imperative we learn how to identify a good shepherd from God.
Note: False teachers are anyone who espouse instruction for living that is contrary to the Word and will of God – philosophy, theology, musician…