II. In John 10 Jesus has four names of those who are a threat to the sheep. He calls them thieves, robbers, strangers, and hirelings. They come only to steal, and kill, and destroy. In verse 12 Jesus says that when the hireling sees the wolf coming, he flees, because he cares nothing for the sheep. Who do you think is the wolf? We don’t have to press the details, but some do.
III. In John 10 Jesus has two names for himself.
- First, in verse 2 he is “the shepherd of the sheep,” later in verse 11 he says, “I am the good shepherd.” In John 10 Jesus call himself the shepherd 6 times. The Good Shepherd came to lay down his life for the sheep. Jesus says this twice.
- Second, in verse 7 Jesus says he is “the door of the sheep.” In verse 9 he says, “I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
- “The shepherd”and “the door” are complimentary images. In those days, the sheepfold was often built without a gate. As night fell, the sheep were driven into the sheepfold, and then the shepherd would lie down where the opening would be, in order to protect his sheep. The next morning, he would get up, and them, and lead them out. Jesus says that he has come that his sheep might have life, and have it abundantly. In verses 28 and 29 he says
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
IV. In John 10 Jesus has two names for God.
- In verse 3 God is “the gatekeeper” who opens the gate for the shepherd.
- In the remainder of the chapter, eight times, Jesus calls God either “the Father” or “my Father.”
- In verse 30, Jesus says, “I and my Father are one.”
V. Other key points in this text include the distinction between the Sheep of one fold and “other sheep not of this fold.” Most assume that the two folds represent Jewish and Gentile Christians. There is to be “one flock one shepherd.” Verses 19-30 indicate a division between those Jews which believed that Jesus was the Messiah, “the Son of God,” and those which did not.
VI. For me the high point of the chapter is found in verses 17 and 18. Therein Jesus says:
17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father.”
Takeaway: Tonight, take a few minutes to read Psalm 23. Read it against the backdrop of John 10. In John 10 Jesus promises the sheep of his pasture an abundant life, total protection from our enemies, and eternal life in the heavenly kingdom. More than that he identifies himself with the Lord about whom King David spoke when he wrote:
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want; 2 he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; 3 he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.Pastor Green
The Image Above is English: Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church , Ashfield, New South Wales. It illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd.” This version of the image shows a close up of the key features of the scene. It has been cropped to 16×9 for the blog. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” Wikimedia Commons License. The full image is here.