Summary: Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B
John 10: 11 – 18/ The Good Shepherd
Intro: A certain butcher had sold all his poultry except one hen. A woman came in and asked for a hen. The butcher weighed his one chicken and said it would be $3.85. “Do you have a larger one?” asked the lady. The butcher thought fast. He returned the chicken to the ice barrel from which he had taken it, stirred it for a bit, and came up with the same hen. Weighing it he said it would be $4.35. “Fine,” said the woman. “I’ll take them both.” --- The question is this, what is the difference between a bad butcher and a good one?
I. This scripture less from John’s gospel concerns this idea of integrity. What do you think he did when the lady asked for both hens? He was caught being dishonest. Here, Jesus isn’t talking about butchers; he is telling us a parable about a good shepherd of the sheep.
A. In Verse 16, “There shall be one flock and one shepherd.” Jesus speaks of his followers as sheep.
B. Phillip Keller, a sheep rancher, wrote a book titled, “A Shepherd Looks At The 23rd Psalm”. He says that sheep require more attention than any other livestock. Sheep will ruin a pasture by eating in one place until there is nothing left to eat, they are near-sighted, timid, feeble, defenseless, have no homing instinct and can’t find their way home. Not a very flattering picture of us as sheep.
C. Sheep and cattle are very different. Cows are herded from the rear with shouts and prods. But, that doesn’t work with sheep. If you stand behind sheep making noises, they will just run around behind you. Sheep prefer to be led. Cows can be pushed; sheep must be lead. Is it not the same with us?
II. Verses 11 & 14 Jesus says that he is the GOOD SHEPHERD. The word Good is frequently understood by Americans as the opposite of bad. But, we’ve already learned that a good shepherd leads the sheep. What else does that word good include?
A. There are 2 words in Greek that translate into English as the word, “good”. AGATHOSE implies a moral and efficient quality. A person is “good” because they can perform their assigned task well.
B. The 2nd word also means “good”. KALOS includes the moral and efficient quality but it adds the quality of loveliness or attractiveness to it. It is the kind of goodness that makes us feel wanted and secure.
C. Kalos is the word used here and implies that which is ordered, sound, noble, ideal, model, true, competent, faithful, and praiseworthy. As the good shepherd, Jesus brings to the job the strength and courage of an earthly shepherd but also the qualities of beauty and kindness which helps us call him friend.
III. Jesus is the good or model shepherd of our lives. What exactly does that mean for each of us?
A. VS. 11 – I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. Jesus did not minister for the glory or the money. Neither did he flee when trouble came. He was willing to sacrifice his life for us that we might gain eternal life and favor with the Father in heaven.
B. VS. 14 – I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. The key word here is ginosko in Greek. It means to know experientially and was used as a Jewish idiom for physical intimacy. This is not book knowledge, put personal knowledge. The Good Shepherd provides because he knows our basic need, he pilots because he knows our need for direction, he protects because he knows our need for security, he pursues because he knows how easily we are led astray.
C. VS. 16 “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. Through the power of the Holy Spirit all believers in Christ Jesus, even those who are not of this sheep pen, are drawn together into one body, the body of Christ.
Conclu: A minor detail of this passage that concerned me somewhat is the phrase, “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen.” We may never know to whom Jesus is referring here. But, it made me think about inclusiveness. I believe these sheep do not live in far-away lands. I think they live right here in Georgetown. I also believe you know who they are. People who live near you that are good people, who believe in God; but, who just don’t make the effort to get up and come to church. Perhaps they are even in your family. May we be willing to share with them the story of the Good Shepherd that none may be deprived, none forgotten or excluded.