Summary: Jesus calls Himself the good shepherd and the word ‘good’ describes someone who is more than just competent but it refers to the character of the person.
Jesus, the good shepherd John 10: 7-21
There was a church where a man fell asleep every Sunday morning just as the Pastor began preaching his message. And every week the Pastor noticed him and it really started to bother him more and more as the time went on. He thought to himself, “I spend hours studying and praying over these messages and that guy doesn’t even bother to stay awake for the introduction.” Well, finally, he couldn’t take it anymore and so one day he stopped this man at the door and told him how much it bothered him that he could sit there and sleep during his entire message. And the man said in response, “Do you think I’d go to sleep if I didn’t trust what you had to say?” Please, don’t trust me that much.
A couple of weeks ago we looked at the first six verses of this chapter which is really a bit of an introduction to the whole concept of the church, where Jesus uses the illustration of the sheepfold as a portrayal of the universal church. And what I mean by that is that He is talking here about all believers in general. In other words, there won’t be a separate room for the Baptists and another for Presbyterians or anyone else but everyone and by this I mean all true believers will be part of the one body. We’ll simply be like one large flock of sheep.
And so Jesus began by warning about those who would attempt to get in or become part of this kingdom by going over the wall rather than going in through the door and you will remember that He described Himself as being the door and so He was referring to those who are trying to get into heaven some other way, than through Him. And we all know that there are some who believe they’ll get to heaven because of their good works and there will be others who think they’ll get in because of who their parents were and there might even be some who think they’ll deserve to go to heaven because they went to the right church or maybe even because they attended the right school. And Jesus labeled all these people as being thieves and robbers.
And we saw how thieves and robbers have no business in the kingdom because all they want to do is take care of number one and that’s me. They don’t come in through the door because they have no desire to be part of what the kingdom is all about.
You see, all they want are the benefits of heaven and only those benefits in particular that appeal to them. And can you imagine what heaven would be like if God let all the unsaved just because they felt they deserved it. I mean, those of us who are saved would have to lock our doors and do all we could to protect ourselves all the time because if there was the unsaved there, they’d still have their sin nature. And listen, heaven would be hell.
Now, it almost goes without saying that Jesus was talking about the Pharisees and the rest of the religious crowd when He refers to thieves and robbers. And we notice that always seemed to be listening whenever He spoke but these guys were a walking contradiction. They seemed to be saying two opposite things at once. For instance, in the previous chapter they claimed that Jesus had broken the law by healing a man on the Sabbath and almost in the next breath they said they didn’t believe He could heal. Now listen, even an idiot would say you can’t have it both ways. If He couldn’t heal He didn’t break the Sabbath and if He did break the Sabbath than He healed the man.
And then we looked at how Jesus Himself is the door and He opens it to all those who are willing to come in. I think I might have mentioned before how I heard of a guy who was a hyper Calvinist and he was saying that there will be those who will be dragged into heaven kicking and screaming because they were chosen by God. But, we all know that that’s absurd because if there’s no desire on our part to be in the kingdom then God isn’t going to violate our free will. Now understand this, even if we were forced to receive something that we would have wanted anyway then God would be treating us as less than human and He’s not willing to do that.
And then Jesus goes on to say that He knows all the sheep by name and each and every one of these sheep, follow Him. And this is describing the personal relationship that each one of us has with the shepherd because He knows every one of us by name. And that’s an amazing thought.