Text: John 10
Event(s): Jesus, the True Shepherd, Jesus the Good Shepherd, The Shepherd knows His sheep, Renewed efforts to stone JesusThroughout the Old Testament, God frequently compared His relationship with Israel to that of a Shepherd and His sheep. They understood this analogy very well. Talking to Jews about sheep would be like talking to Texans about cowboys, or to Floridians about surfers. The people knew the characteristics of a good shepherd. And when the priests who had been given the responsibility of caring for “the sheep of Israel” began to drift from their responsibilities and were unfaithful to God, He again used this analogy to paint a clear picture of where they were failing as caretakers. In this chapter, we come to understand that in the end, Jesus is the only true and faithful Shepherd.
John 10:1 “is a thief and a robber” The words thief, or “kleptes” indicates trickery; and robber, or “lestes” stresses violence. Both are quite close in meaning. The thieves and robbers can refer to anyone who abandons or seeks to harm His sheep in any way.
John 10:2 “the shepherd of the sheep” The Latin word for “shepherd” translates as “pastor.” A shepherd is one who tends, leads, guides, cherishes, feeds, and protects the flock. Jesus does all of this for us, and as it says in verse three that follows, He knows us each by name.
John 10:4 “the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” Shepherds had a distinctive call, or song, to which only his own sheep responded. In the same way, God knows how to communicate with each one of us on a very personal level – in a way that we can and will hear, and in a way that we can and will respond. One of the greatest lies the enemy will try to convince us of is that we cannot hear the voice of God. Don’t believe that for a moment.
John 10:3-4 “and leads them out….he goes before them” Jesus doesn’t drive us, He leads us. He doesn’t send us into battle, He goes before us. There is no place He would ever call us where He has not already gone before. If we are ever faced with heading into unknown territory, we can rest in knowing that God is already there. There is also no trial or temptation that we could ever confront which He cannot personally relate to and has conquered. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd” Good, or “kalos” connotes nobility, attractiveness, and worth, not merely gentleness.
John 10:14 “I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” Jesus knows us well, but we must also make an effort to know Him. This is one of the primary reasons I love reading the Word of God and especially, studying the Gospels as we are doing. The more I read of Him, listen to His words, dig into the meaning of what He taught – I come to know Him more and more. Therefore, a “stranger” I will not follow.
John 10:16 “other sheep I have which are not of this fold..” Jesus is referring to the Gentiles who would be grafted in. Our full incorporation into the one church – the one flock – with one shepherd – took place at Pentecost.
John 10:18 “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.” Right down to His very last breath, Jesus chose when to give up His life.
“It was not the nails, but the strength of His love to the Father and to His elect, which held Him to the Cross.” – Arthur Pink, Theologian
Today’s Takeaway: Today, I really want us to focus on the truth that we, as children of God, can hear the voice of our Good Shepherd. I don’t want to focus on sharing different ways that we hear from God – for I don’t know that all the books in the world could contain the ways in which He has spoken to His people. What I’m aiming at is more the root belief system that enables us to hear. As with all things in God, when we get our beliefs aligned with His truth, this actually enables us to experience what He says we can experience. And in talking with people over the years, I’ve learned that it’s typically not the “method” of hearing God that is the issue – it’s really the belief system. For far too long, many people have doubted that God first of all – wants to speak to them. And secondly, that they are able to hear what He is saying. Today, if there is any doubt in your heart or mind that you can hear from God – that He is actively speaking to you, and that you, as His child can and will recognize His voice, let us cast down that argument and high thought that is trying to exalt itself against the true knowledge of God. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
“God, I believe you are speaking to me, and I believe that as your child, I can and will hear You and recognize Your voice.”
Additional (optional) reading: Ezekiel 34, Psalm 23, Hebrews 13:5-9 One of my favorite translations to read John chapter 10 is in the New Living Translation. If you additional have time to read today, I would recommend reading this chapter again in the NLT.