Summary: Jesus compares Himself as the True Shepherd and the Pharisees as false shepherds of the people.
Jesus, the God Man: The Gospel of John
“The Shepherd’s Voice”
Introduction: “Hey, Pastor Tim! Yeah. I recognized your voice.” How many times has someone said something similar to you? You call and you don’t need to say who you are because they know your voice.
Years ago RCA Victor used a logo of a dog looking into a Victrola speaker with the tag line “His Master’s Voice.” The point being that the dog heard his master’s voice on the record. (Show picture on PowerPoint)
Scripture teaches that God considers us as sheep (see Psalm 78:52, 95:7, 100:3, Isaiah 53:6, Ezek. 34:31) and like the dog or the person on the other end of the phone they know the voice of the one with whom they are well acquainted.
Although one chapter has ended and another has begun we are still in the same setting with the same people present. Jesus is talking to the former blind man and the Pharisees that had him unsynagogued. As He talks He draws a comparison between Himself as the True Shepherd and the Pharisees as false shepherds of the people. As we study this passage I want you to hear “The Shepherd’s Voice.”
1. Follow the True Shepherd. (vv. 1-2)
Explain shepherds of Judean area. Each shepherd had four items:
scrip which was their “lunchbox”
a sling to protect themselves and the sheep or to frighten a wandering sheep to returning to the flock
a staff for checking the ground or to rescue fallen sheep
a rod for correction or protection.
Shepherds would bring their sheep in for the night to the city; they would lay their rod across the entry to the sheepfold so they would pass under the rod and check each sheep as they came in. They did this every night to make sure they were okay and to doctor any wounds.
The sheep would all be kept in the community sheepfold and a person would be left to guard the sheep overnight. If there was a door it would be closed and locked for the night or he would be the door. Sometimes the shepherds that used it would take turns being responsible for it. In the morning the shepherds would each return and call their sheep by name and with certain sounds or tone and they would come running out to their own shepherd.
Thieves and robbers would climb over the high fence around the fold and either steal the sheep or kill it and toss the body over the wall and take it. Jesus in this passage makes a comparison between Himself as the Good Shepherd and the thieves and robbers which represented the Pharisees.
“Verily, verily, truly, truly, most assuredly” – Pay attention. Don’t miss this comparison.
The “sheepfold” is Israel or the Jewish people.
“thief” – steals or takes what does not belong to him.
“robber” – takes by force or slaughters.
They do not come in a legitimate way but instead sneak in. How do you tell who the false shepherds are? They are sneaky and illegitimate leaders. They will steal your joy, your trust, but they cannot steal your salvation. That does not belong to you but to God!
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 2 Peter 2:1-2 (NIV)
These Pharisees were not true shepherds, but actually thieves and robbers. Killing the sheep, leading them to their destruction. How many so-called shepherds today are leading their flocks to destruction by giving them religion instead of relationship? By leading them in legalism instead of love? By teaching them false doctrines instead of faith and discipline? –Ron Daniel, former pastor, Cheyenne Calvary Chapel
v. 2 – BUT not the True Shepherd! He comes right through the front door. He is not sneaky, but bold because He is the rightful Shepherd as promised by prophecy!
2. Listen to the Shepherd as He leads. (vv. 3-4)
“Doorkeeper” signifies John the Baptist or the prophecies of the OT. They have both foretold His coming and so when He arrived, He fulfilled all Scripture and thus the sheepfold opened to Him as the legitimate shepherd of the sheep.
“Sheep hear” – Those that are His are listening for His voice and His call.
Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. John 5:25 (NIV)