Summary: This is a comparison of Jesus as the Good Shepherd to that of a good shepherd in Old Testament times.
The Good Shepherd
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. 11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me– 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father-- and I lay down my life for the sheep. 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. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life-- only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father." 19 At these words the Jews were again divided. (NIV)
I. The shepherd.
1. Willing to risk his life for just one lamb (Matthew 18:12).
2. David was a shepherd.
1. Scrip (a bag made of animal skins).
a. Held his food.
2. Dried fruit.
b. Smooth stones.
2. Sling (Judges 20:16).
Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred chosen men who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss. (NIV)
a. (Protective) It was used to warn a wondering sheep.
b. (Defensive) It was used to against animal attacks.
C. Staff (Short wooden staff).
1. Often with a lump of wood at the end studded with nails.
2. Often had a slit in the handle with a swatch of material to wrap around the shepherd’s waste.
3. It was used primarily against robbers and large beast for sel-defense purposes.
D. Rod (like the shepherd’s crook).
1. Used to catch and pull back stray sheep.
2. Used when penning the herd at the end of a day.
a. The shepherd would hold it low across the gate entrance.
b. He would then examine each sheep as it passed under to check for injuries.
II. His relationship with the sheep.
A. Sheep were used primarily for clothing and lived long lives.
1. The shepherd and sheep came to know each other quite well.
2. They were named by the shepherd.
3. The sheep would recognize the shepherd’s voice.
B. Sheep are timid animals.
1. The shepherd would lead the sheep.
a. This allowed him to make the path safe.
b. It instilled confidence in the sheep.
2. Though they fear water, a good shepherd could get them to even cross rivers.
a. He would take one lamb across the river.
b. When the ewe would hear her sheep crying she would cross over the river.
c. The rest of the sheep would follow suit.
C. Sheep recognized the shepherd’s voice.
1. It was often unintelligible talk (like baby talk).
a. People would have no idea what is being said.
b. The sheep would know exactly what was being said.