"Show us the Father"-- Part 2

John 10

Parable of the Good Shepherd

  1"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is (A)a thief and a robber.

  2"But he who enters by the door is (B)a shepherd of the sheep.

  3"To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear (C)his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and (D)leads them out.

  4"When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know (E)his voice.

  5"A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know (F)the voice of strangers."

  6This (G)figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.

  7So Jesus said to them again, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am (H)the door of the sheep.

  8"All who came before Me are (I)thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.

  9" (J)I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

  10"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they (K)may have life, and have it abundantly.

  11" (L)I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd (M)lays down His life for the sheep.

  12"He who is a hired hand, and not a (N)shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

  13"He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.

  14" (O)I am the good shepherd, and (P)I know My own and My own know Me,

  15even as (Q) the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and (R) I lay down My life for the sheep.

  16"I have (S)other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become (T)one flock with (U)one shepherd.

  17"For this reason the Father loves Me, because I (V)lay down My life so that I may take it again.

  18" (W)No one has taken it away from Me, but I (X)lay it down on My own initiative I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again (Y)This commandment I received from My Father."

This parable(s) is more indicative of what I believe Sid was looking to emphasize with this study. Before I go on I want to mention that in John 10:37, 38 that Jesus repeats to the crowd he was speaking to essentially the same thing he told the apostles in John 14:12 that we previously discussed emphasizing the immaturity of the apostles at the time and proof of the concept that God is not a respecter of persons. To properly understand this parable we need to understand how a Shepard took care of his sheep during that time as it is done much differently today. Sheep today are commodities that are driven or pushed to a desired location where during that time and place they were led by someone they would follow in a manner I liken to pets today. Your pets will come when they are called (sometimes) and they depend on you to feed and see to their needs. We also need to know something about God’s relationship with Israel as he was called the Shepard of Israel on many occasions in the Old Testament(Ps 80:1, Ps 23:1, Isa 40: 10,11, Eze 34:11-16). God had given great responsibility to the leaders of Israel, which they failed to respect. God denounced these leaders as false Shepard’s thru the prophets (Isa 56:9-12, Eze 34) and promised to provide a true Shepard, the Messiah, to care for his sheep(Eze 34:23).

In the first verse Jesus defines who has proper access to the sheep, only those who enter thru the door, which is Christ which is given in verse 7 as Jesus explains the parable because the crowd did not understand. He continues to say that anyone entering any other way is a robber or thief which implies they are there illegally or against God’s will. This also could refer to the past and present leaders of Israel who did not follow God’s will and led the people astray as is well documented in the Old Testament, as they continually killed the prophets of God.

In verses 2 and 3 Jesus tells them the Shepard enter thru the gate which the watchman or doorkeeper opens for him. The watchman or doorkeeper was obviously someone stationed at the gate to keep thieves and robbers out and had more than one flock inside the gate (which is Christ) as he states the Shepard calls his own sheep out implying other sheep were present. He calls them out with his voice (the word of God) which the sheep recognize and follow.

Verse 4 goes on tell that the Shepard assumes a position in front of the sheep (setting an example) and they follow because they know his voice (the word of God). If the sheep do not know the word of God then how can they recognize a Shepard of God?

Verse 5 enforces this concept by stating the sheep will not follow a stranger (someone teaching something other than the word of God) because they do not recognize the teaching. Again the sheep must know the word of God to be able to recognize that the stranger is teaching something different.

Verse 6 just states that those listening to Christ did not understand the parable that he told them.

In verse 7 Jesus begins to explain the parable to the listeners by stating he is the gate or door to the sheep pen.

Verse 8 expands on who the thieves and robbers are by stating those who came before Christ (which would include the current leaders as well as past leaders) and that the sheep did not listen to them (thieves and robbers) indicating that Christ was referring to the remnant or spiritual Israel, those saved by God as opposed to the disobedient whole of Israel or the physical nation of Israel. It is stated repeatedly in the Old Testament about God saving a remnant that remained faithful to God, as Israel the nation was being punished with captivity, death, and destruction.

In verse 9 Jesus restates that he is the gate but expands that thought to include the reward for entering thru the gate as opposed to trying to reach God by another method. He tells his listeners that those who enter thru Christ, the gate or door, would be saved as well as have their primary needs met. This does not mean that they would have all that they desired. Jesus said the sheep would be able to go in and go out and find pasture which implies basic needs that a sheep would find in a pasture.

Verse 10 is referencing the sheep Christ spoke of in the previous verse, he states that the thieves come only to steal, kill, and destroy: in other words their only interest is their self and what gain the sheep will bring to them. This is of a physical nature whether it is praise, honor, or maybe even monetary gain but it always results in spiritual death. Christ continues that he came that the sheep may have life and to the full, which translates that Christ brings eternal life as his reward for those who seek God thru him. Life can be no fuller than to be never endings or eternal remembering that our physical life is temporary even if it is filled with the heartache created by evil that rules it.

In verse 11 Jesus states he is the good Shepherd that lays down his life for the sheep. The Shepard of that day would risk danger for the sheep however he always expected to live to see another day, Jesus on the other hand died for his flock which no greater sacrifice can be made. This also implies the great value that Christ has for his flock which in turn shows the love that God has for us since Christ is only doing God’s will. If it was God’s will to kill mankind I believe that Jesus would have been just a proficient at performing that task as well.

Verse 12 and 13 talks about the hired hand which implies someone who draws a wage to do a job, however it is deeper than that, it deals with the intent of the wage earner. Christ also says that a workman deserves his wages in Luke 10:7 when Christ sent out the 72 to do his work. The fact that someone draws a wage does not disqualify them from being a Shepard; however they should have the same love for the sheep that Christ showed when he laid down his life. The wage earner Christ is referring to is one who main interest is the wage and not the sheep, in other words it is just a job.

Verses 14 and 15 go together as Jesus restates that he is the good Shepard that was defined in verse 11. Jesus also states he knows those who belong to his flock as they know him also in the same relationship that Jesus and God share. This relationship remember is one where Jesus actions always reflect God’s will just as our actions should reflect the will of Christ. How do we know Christ’s will? The only way is to know is to read and study the bible. Jesus then states that he lays down his life for the sheep, in other words he gives up his life willingly.

The full nature of that knowledge which the First Person of the Trinity has of the Second and the Second of the First, is something far beyond man's finite understanding. It is in short a deep mystery ... (It is) a knowledge so high, so deep, so intimate, so ineffable, that no words can fully convey it.

In verse 16 we must remember who Christ was speaking to, that is the Jews. Today if we speak in terms of nationality we will use the term of either American or non-Americans just the same for Jews of that time were Jews or gentiles (non Jews). The sheep that Jesus is speaking of are those who are not Jews but they will fall under his leadership to become one flock. The gentiles will meet the same requirements as the rest of his flock (they too will listen to my voice). This implies that they will obey Christ just as the Jews must to be called a part of the flock of Christ.

In verse 17 Jesus states why God loves him, because he was obedient in conforming to God’s will. We must remember he was speaking to a crowd of people here who like many today felt that life was over at your physical death; therefore he states that he would take up his life again.

Verse 18 is a further attempt by Christ to explain to those listening that no one could take his life if he did not allow this to happen. Christ states that his authority to do this came from God. It is also relevant that the response of the crowd in the following verses was some said he was demon possessed to say such things while others said in essence to believe on his works or miracles, just as Christ had told Phillip in John 14 as well as he told the leaders later in this chapter in verse 37 when they tried to charge him with blasphemy and have him stoned.


[ To return to the sermons index page, please click on the doorway above.]