Summary: The 30th sermon in a series on the Gospel of John. In this sermon we look at Jesus' teaching about the Good Shepherd, and His warnings against false shepherds, wolves, and thieves.
The Good Shepherd (John Part 30)
Text: John 10:1-21
Well, we’ve come to chapter 10 in John’s Gospel this morning, and it’s one of those chapters that’s probably familiar to you. Or at least I hope it is. And just like chapter 9, there’s a lot in this chapter, so we’ll be spending at least… at the very least, two Sunday’s on it… maybe 3 or 4. We’ll see. And Church, I really want you listening this morning… I want you to think through this with me, and hear what God’s Word is saying, because this passage is extremely relevant to where we, and I mean First Baptist Sharon, is today.
So let’s go ahead and get to it… John 10:1-21 (READ).
Now I want you to keep a bookmark there in John 10, because we’re going to be turning back to the Old Testament some, and looking at some other passages as well… but we’ll keep coming back to John 10. So keep it accessible, because we’ll be coming back to it.
Like I said a second ago… there’s a lot here in John 10… There’s two of Jesus’ “I AM” statements. He says “I AM the Door to the sheepfold.” There in verse 7, and then; in verse 11 and also in verse 14, He says, “I AM the Good Shepherd.” And He’s using that kind of language to contrast Himself with the “thieves” and “robbers” and the “hired hands”. And we’ll see that as we go through it.
And it’s also important to remember that right before this, in chapter 9, Jesus had healed a man who was blind from birth… and the man, once he realized who Jesus was, he worshiped Him as Lord. And to the Pharisees; this is outrageous! They don’t think that Jesus is God… they think that He’s a man, who’s receiving the worship that should be directed to God alone. Now of course we know that the Pharisees are very religious… and they are very sincere, but they’re sincerely wrong.
So Jesus… in chapter 9, received the worship of the man who had been healed of blindness… and again; that tells us something about Jesus. In Acts chapter 14, there were people who tried to worship the Apostles, and they forbid them from doing it… and in the Book of Revelation, John tries to worship an angel, and the angel tells him to stop… “Don’t do that!” But unlike His Apostles, and unlike His angels, Jesus accepts and receives worship that is due God alone. So what’s that telling us? JESUS IS GOD!
And Jesus begins this passage with the words “Truly, truly”. And anytime you see that in the Gospels, that means “PAY ATTENTION!” That’s Jesus’ way of saying that He’s about to say something very important. And He uses a word picture… or a figure of speech, that you would think they’d be very familiar with. He starts talking about sheep and shepherds.
Now in Israel, even today, the sheep would roam the hillsides, but at night, they were gathered up in a pen, and guarded. Now during the day, the shepherd would be out in the fields with the sheep. He would let them graze, but then sometimes, he would have to lead them to a better field, or to water. Now when the Bible says the shepherds “lead” the sheep, that’s really what they did. They would walk, and the sheep would follow them. Here in the US we drive our cattle… (And our sheep), but in Israel they lead them. And so he would lead them to better pastures and to water, and at night, he’d lead them to the pen, and lock them in. And often times, it would be a big pen, and more than one heard of sheep would be locked in. So you might have 3 or 4 herds in one pen. There was only entrance into the pen… they called it the door to the sheepfold, or the gate to the sheepfold.
And there was an under-shepherd who was supposed to watch and care for the sheep while the shepherd was gone during the night. Now… just like today; there were thieves and robbers back then too. They’d try to sneak in and steal sheep. Instead of doing the hard work of trying to raise up their own flock, they would steal sheep from other shepherds. And these guys were not “good guys” trying to do good by the sheep… they were bad guys… trying to get more sheep in order to get more profit from them.
They’d scope out a particular sheep from a flock… maybe it was good breeding stock, or it was really strong, or vibrant, or it had a good coat of wool… and they’d scope it out… and say, “We need that particular sheep in our flock. In our herd.”