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A Shepherd You Can Trust

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John 10:1-21


            “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”  “He shall make you like wool, white as snow.”  There are few metaphors that capture our heart like the comparison of Jesus as our Shepherd and we the sheep.  Indeed we can be dumb, wander astray and get into trouble.  And for sure, spiritually, we cannot survive without the Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep.

            (Responsive Reading)  Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything that I need!  He lets me rest in meadows green and leads me beside the quiet streams.  He restores my soul.  He helps me do what honors Him the most.  Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.  You provide abundant food for me in the presence of my enemies.  You have welcomed me as Your special guest; blessings overflow!  Your goodness and unfailing kindness shall be with me all the days of my life, and afterwards I will live with You forever in Your home. 

            In our previous study, Jesus accused the Pharisees of being blind spiritual guides.  It seems natural that Jesus would follow that accusation with a statement of His own spiritual guidance: He’s the Good Shepherd.  In our study, Jesus further reveals that the Pharisees are bogus shepherds, even thieves and robbers.  In addition to this exposure of false shepherds, John reveals some wonderful insights to our relationship with Jesus.  Read Text.

1.      For the sake of clarification of this parable, who is the shepherd?  The sheep?  The false shepherds?  What is the sheepfold?

2.      What is meant by trying to “climb up some other way” that gets the judgment of being a thief and a robber?  (False shepherds who proclaim a different Gospel, who claim to care for God’s flock but do not, who promise a better life apart from redemption through Jesus’ blood, are spiritual charlatans who deprive people of salvation because of a false path.)      Notice the strong admonition in these verses about being a false guide: 
Gal. 1:6-9
Jer. 14:15
Jer. 23:1-2, 16, 21, 32
Jer. 28:15-16
Ezek. 13:1-14
Isa. 56:10-11
2 Cor. 11:13-15
Titus 1:10-14
2 Pet. 2:1-3

Rev. 2:20-25

3.      What descriptions do you find in 1 Pet. 5:1-4 that would be opposite to a shepherd that is a thief and robber?

4.      In this parable Jesus states the correct way to enter the sheepfold is through the door.  What is the implication behind these words?  (You can enter Heaven only through Jesus Christ.)  Jn. 10:9; 14:6; Acts 4:12

5.      Notice in verse 3 that if you come to the sheepfold the correct way (through the door), the doorkeeper opens the door.
Insight: Jesus will not refuse entrance to anyone who genuinely seeks entrance through faith in Him.  He does not shut the door in the face of the true seeker.

6.      Verses 3 & 4 give several rich insights about Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  What are they?  (The sheep hear His voice because He’s talking to them; He knows our individual names; He leads us where we need to go; He goes before us, instead of pushing us out the door in this cold world, expecting us to find our own way; we follow Him because we are familiar with His voice.)

7.      What is our instruction in verse 5 if we hear a “strange” voice in a shepherd?  (Flee.)  Matt. 24:23-26; Rom. 16:17-18     How do we know if it is a “strange” voice?  Matt. 7:15-23; Acts 17:10-1; Rev. 2:1-7

8.      What picture comes to you mind when you read verse 7?  (Show illustration.  Shepherds in that day slept in the doorway of the sheepfold to keep wild animals out that would harm his sheep.)

9.      What descriptions does Jesus give of the false shepherd, the hireling in verses 10-13?  (They steal, kill, destroy, desert the sheep when they need him the most, he lets the wolf snatch them away, he lets the wolf scatter the flock, he flees when the heat’s on, and he is not concerned about the sheep.)     What other descriptions can you think of for a false shepherd?  (They twist the Scriptures to fit their own theology, they tell half truths, they pull Scripture out of context, they use their position for seduction, and they encourage people to trust in themselves.)  1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-9

10.  What contrast against the false shepherds do you find in 10:9-11 in reference to Jesus?  (He leads His sheep in and out of the fold to the pasture; He gives them an abundant life; He lays down His life for the sheep.)  1 Jn 3:16; Ezek. 34:11-16

11.  What is Jesus talking about in 10:16 when He refers to “other sheep”?  (Gentiles – you and me!!)     Notice He says He’s going to make us into one flock.  What barriers are going to have to come down for that to happen?     What’s stopping us from bringing down those barriers now?

12.  Do you get a sense of urgency or intense purpose in verse 16?  What words tell you that?  (“Must bring.”)     Notice the points of urgency that Jesus speaks of in these following verses and see if you can create within your own heart a mission with intensity:
Matt. 16:21
Lk. 4:43
Lk. 13:33
Lk. 19:5
Jn. 3:14-15

13.  From verse 10:18, do you get the idea that the kangaroo courts of the Pharisees and the Roman executioners were only pawns in God’s hands when it came to Jesus’ death?     Have we not seen time and again that Jesus slips from their grasp when the time is not right for His death?  We will see it yet again in this chapter: 10:39


            The final three verses reveal a wedge being driven among those who heard Jesus’ words.  The distinction is obvious; either they thought He had a demon and was insane, or they begin to wonder who He really is, for a demon cannot do the wonders Jesus did.  Just remember that it is not easy for someone who is legalistic (like a Pharisee) to think in a pastoral way like Jesus.  That same wedge is driven into our heart as we revisit what Jesus said and did.  Which side of the fence are you?  Who is Jesus to you?  A lunatic…or your Shepherd?

            “And now, may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the Great Shepherd, equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, all that is pleasing to him. Jesus is the great Shepherd of the sheep by an everlasting covenant, signed with his blood. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”  Heb. 13:20-21

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