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Jesus, the True Shepherd

John 10

 

 

v. 11        Jesus is called the Good Shepherd, who gives his life for the sheep.  The good shepherd speaks of redemption.

 

The Bible also calls Him the Great Shepherd, which speaks of resurrection.

Hebrews 13:20
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep...

And so He not only gives His life FOR the sheep but gives new life TO the sheep.

 

Now, Jesus is also referred to as the Chief Shepherd, which speaks of His return.

1 Peter 5:4
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

This is when He takes us to His forever fold in glory!

 

Every sheep needs a shepherd!

 

Last time:

 

1.     Sheep are dumb.

They will stick their head thru a fence and then not even try to pull it back out.  They need the shepherd to assist them.  They just stand there with a sheepish grin!

 

2.     Sheep are directionless.

By nature, that is.  Sheep have a tendency to wander aimlessly, and once they are lost, that's it.  They have no internal compass...no sense of direction.  Their only hope of getting back safely is if the shepherd goes out and finds them.  They are utterly incapable of finding their way on their own. 

 

We can thank God for the direction God has given our lives, for before He found us, we wandered aimlessly. 

 

Before you get saved, this is what the Bible says:  All we like sheep have gone astray, and turned to our own way.  If you aren't saved, the Good Shepherd is looking for you, and wants to bring you into His fold of greener pastures. 

 

Just as sheep don't look for their shepherd, humans, by nature, don't seek God.  A sheep will wander aimlessly until it starves to death or is taken by a predator.  The same is true for a hungry, lonely soul. He will starve spiritually or be taken by Satan, the roaming lion.

 

3.     Sheep are defenseless.

Utterly helpless, timid, feeble creatures.  Attack a chicken and at least he can peck at you.  A dog can bite, a cat can claw.  All a sheep can do is run, and not fast at all.

 

Even as a Christian, you are no match for the devil.  But greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world!

 

Today:  Jesus is the TRUE Shepherd.  He's the one and only shepherd.  There's only one way to heaven.  One door and only one, and Jesus is THE way, THE truth,  and THE life!

 

We must talk about the historical background here.  By day, the shepherds in that region would bring their sheep out to graze.  But at night, several flocks would come together into one fold.  Maybe it would be a cave or an enclosure of some sort.  There would only be one way in, and one man would be on watch while the others slept.  He was the porter. 

Now, in the morning, all the shepherds would come for their sheep...and all the sheep look exactly the same.  How did they separate them?  Name tags?  [Baaaahb] No.  It was by the shepherd's voice.  Each shepherd has his own distinct call, and only his sheep would follow that call. 

 

Now look at vv. 1-5        Make sense?

        A false shepherd cannot lead the sheep, so he must STEAL the sheep.  He seeks to win their heart from another.  What does Jesus mean by this parable?  Whatever it was, they didn't get it.

v. 6  So what does this truly mean?  I can tell you that the most common interpretation is not the correct one.  Most see this passage as being about going to heaven.  Jesus is the door, and sheep enter into His wonderful fold of greener pastures.  That's a nice application, but that's not the primary interpretation.

 

Jesus is speaking here to the nation of Israel, rebuking their religious leaders, the Pharisees.  You see, chapter 10 comes after chapter 9.  Amen?  Look at 9:40-41.

        There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

 

The parable immediately follows, and is rebuking their cold, dead religion, which couldn't save anyone.  Jesus claims His stake here as their long awaited shepherd, longing to rescue lost sheep in this world, not just for the next world.

Isaiah 40:11
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Jesus says, I'm that one Isaiah wrote about.  I'm the true shepherd, the real thing!

 

3 ways to know He's the True Shepherd:

 

1.     His Entrance.

vv. 1-2     "I came God's way, thru God's door." 

ill.--in Ecuador a few years ago I got lonely, and wanted to talk to my wife.  Problem is, she's far away and there's 7 billion people in the world.  I picked up a phone.  The moment I did that, I cut out all the world's population who doesn't have a phone, over half of them.  Then I dialed the country code, 011, which excludes all but the USA.  Next, the area code, which eliminated all Americans not in central IL.  The prefix made it Decatur, and the last 4 digits made my wife's phone ring, only one person in the world had that number...and she was in the shower!

 

The OT said the Messiah would be born of the tribe of Judah, and that excluded 90% of these jokers.  Furthermore, He should be of the lineage of David, and be born in Bethlehem, of a virgin.  There's only one person on the other end of that line, only one who qualifies, only one who has ever walked thru that door...He IS the Door, Jesus Christ!

        Some were claiming to be the Messiah, and Jesus here calls them thieves and robbers.  They did not come in God's appointed way.  They were trying to climb over the wall, instead of coming by the door.  They were trying to steal sheep that didn't belong to them!

 

His entrance...

 

2.     His Acceptance.

v. 3a                This is a clear reference to John the Baptist.  It was prophesied that he would recognize the Messiah, and would open the door and introduce Him to Israel.  "Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world."  John baptized Jesus, and when He came up out of that water, the booming, audible voice of the Father was heard by all present there that day, the acceptance, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."  His shoulder was the only one that Holy Spirit dove would light upon, for He is the one and only!

 

Jesus was also accepted of the little lambs.  The common people heard Him gladly!  They recognized the voice of their shepherd! 

 

3.     His Abundance.

vv. 4-6     They still don't get it, so Jesus moves from the illustration of the shepherd to another, the door.

vv. 7-10   Twice He refers to Himself as the door...and yet the sheepfold didn't have a literal, swinging door on hinges.  What was the door?  The shepherd [porter] was the door!

        In other words, no one gets in unless they go THRU him!

 

Remember, He's talking to the Pharisees.

v. 8          Yes, I'm talking to you - guy on the front row.  Awkward!  You've substituted rules for relationship, and no sheep can truly enter in your way.  They weren't leading and feeding the flock, they were fleecing the flock!

Mark 12:40
Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.

Luke 16:14
And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.

They turned His house into a den of thieves...and they later plotted to kill Jesus so Rome wouldn't take away their privileges. 

 

Jesus said, I am the door, and I can lead you out of dead religion into the greener pastures of a vital, vibrant relationship w/ the true shepherd. 

v. 10b      There's the abundant life!

 

The world is seeking fulfillment in life, and treats the devil like their friend and Jesus like He's the enemy...when Jesus is the only one who can give them the abundance they are craving!

 

We've seen the Good Shepherd, and the True Shepherd.  Next time, the Faithful Shepherd.

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