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The Good Shepherd

Jesus is  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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book of John

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Jesus Is

10:11The Good Shepherd
Holman Bible Handbook The Good Shepherd (10:1–21)

One of the great images of Jesus is as the “good Shepherd” (10:11). First, He is the gate to the sheep pen, meaning that no one can enter the fold through any other means than Jesus Himself (10:1, 7–9). Only through Jesus Christ can anyone be made right with God leading to eternal life. Second, Jesus leads His sheep. No other voice is the true voice of leadership (10:3b–5). Third, as the good Shepherd, Jesus protects His flock—even to the point of death (10:11). Unlike someone who watches sheep for employment, Jesus is a Shepherd motivated by love for His sheep (10:12–13).

The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

OVERVIEW: The shepherd leads the sheep rather than following them, and he gathers them in rather than letting them wander (CHRYSOLOGUS). He instructs them in Scripture, which is the door of entry into the sheepfold of Christ (CHRYSOSTOM). Those who confess the true Christ enter through that door (AUGUSTINE). Shepherds use the door while thieves use whatever entrance is possible (THEODORE), including the side door (CLEMENT). When the true shepherd enters by the door, he enters in by Christ (AUGUSTINE) and demonstrates he is a worthy shepherd by faithfully teaching the flock and keeping from them any doctrine that might lead to their slaughter (THEODORE)

One of the great images of Jesus is as the “good Shepherd” (10:11).
1. Jesus is the gate to get right with God
First, He is the gate to the sheep pen, meaning that no one can enter the fold through any other means than Jesus Himself (10:1, 7–9). Only through Jesus Christ can anyone be made right with God leading to eternal life.
2. We all belong to His fold
Second, Jesus leads His sheep. No other voice is the true voice of leadership (10:16.
3. Jesus protect us out of LOVE for us
Third, as the good Shepherd, Jesus protects His flock—even to the point of death (10:11). Unlike someone who watches sheep for employment, Jesus is a Shepherd motivated by love for His sheep (10:12–13).
New Testament IVa: John 1–10 Bringing in the Sheep

BRINGING IN THE SHEEP. PETER CHRYSOLOGUS: Each year, when spring with its breezes begins to usher in the birth of so many sheep and to deposit the numerous young of the fruitful flock about the fields, the meadows and the paths, a good shepherd puts aside his songs and leisure. He anxiously searches for the tender little sheep, picks them up and gathers them together. Happy to carry them, he places them about his neck, on his shoulders and in his arms. He wants them to be safe as he carries or leads them to the protecting sheepfolds.

New Testament : The Shepherd of the Shepherds
THE SHEPHERD OF THE SHEPHERDS. AUGUSTINE: Above he said that the good Shepherd entered through the door. If he is the Door, how does he enter through himself?…
New Testament IVa: John 1–10 The Shepherd of the Shepherds

THE SHEPHERD OF THE SHEPHERDS. AUGUSTINE: Above he said that the good Shepherd entered through the door. If he is the Door, how does he enter through himself?…

Just as he knows the Father through himself and we know the Father through him, so he enters into the fold through himself and we enter through him. Through Christ we [pastors] have a door of entrance to you; and why? Because we preach Christ and therefore enter in through the door. But Christ preaches Christ too because he preaches himself; and so the Shepherd enters in through himself.… He is also the door to the Father, for there is no way of approach to the Father except through him.… And indeed brothers and sisters, because he is the Shepherd, he has permitted his members to bear the office of shepherd. Both Peter and Paul and all the other apostles were shepherds: all good bishops are shepherds. But none of us calls himself the door. TRACTATES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 47.1, 3.

Just as he knows the Father through himself and we know the Father through him, so he enters into the fold through himself and we enter through him. Through Christ we [pastors] have a door of entrance to you; and why? Because we preach Christ and therefore enter in through the door. But Christ preaches Christ too because he preaches himself; and so the Shepherd enters in through himself.… He is also the door to the Father, for there is no way of approach to the Father except through him.… And indeed brothers and sisters, because he is the Shepherd, he has permitted his members to bear the office of shepherd. Both Peter and Paul and all the other apostles were shepherds: all good bishops are shepherds. But none of us calls himself the door.
Shepherding was a common occupation in ancient Israel through the centuries. Since all of this was so familiar to the ancient Israelites, the words shepherd and sheep became popular metaphors. The Old Testament describes God himself with the metaphor of shepherd (; & ). In the New Testament, it is Jesus who is “that great Shepherd of the sheep”
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.
The profound nature of the opening statement comes to the fore when we remember that David himself had been a shepherd in his boyhood days () and now he is the shepherd of the people of God (; ). In proclaiming the Lord is my shepherd, the twice-shepherd king of Israel therefore acknowledges that he himself has a shepherd.
That shepherd is none other than God. The king himself admits his own need for the divine shepherd. It is natural for the people of Israel to look to David as their chief earthly shepherd. David’s identification of a shepherd higher yet should keep them from idolizing the king.
This shepherd provides for all our needs; David knows that the God of his ancestors supplied all their needs, and he will continue to do so. The reference to green pastures may bring up mental images of lush, rolling meadows that extend as far as the eye can see. But in reality the land in ancient and modern Israel often bears little resemblance to such an ideal. It is semiarid climate that experiences little or no rainfall for five months each year.
Shepherds therefore have to lead nomadic lives, moving from place to place in search of suitable grazing for the sheep. So shepherds often have to settle for the scarce grass that is found on the “the hills” and in “grasslands of the wilderness”. The shepherd has to be skillful in finding adequate grazing, and be ready to move on to prevent overgrazing. So for the psalmist, God is able to provide sources of food that are more than adequate for our needs.
We have a shepherd that will lead us beside quiet waters. Notice the often overlooked part of this statement - he leads me - here lies the importance of knowing the shepherd. The place of of abundant food and water is not a place where one hastily rushes to, but rather a place where one is led to. It is as much a place of repose and respite versus a place of appointment.
The shepherd also restores or refreshes the soul because we trust that God is with us, guiding us in the way to go, even when we are not having an earth-shattering day of overwhelming spiritual experience. He is a shepherd that not only leads, but guides us along right paths. Traveling correct paths requires proper leadership. God always desires to lead us down the right path. But that becomes reality only as we choose to “listen to his voice”.
We have a shepherd in whom we can take confidence. Whatever dangers lurk in dark places of our lives, the expert shepherd knows how to avoid or neutralize them. At first, we may think that the presence of the word evil tips the scale of life toward understanding the valley as symbolizing the spiritual dangers of living in a sinful world. However, we must remember that our shepherd is with us; his rod and staff to protect and rescue the sheep that gotten themselves stuck in relatively difficult situations.
NRSVYou prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.,
We should take great security in the fact that we have a shepherd that host us in the midst of our needs and desires. Tables of food are prepared by those who host banquets, feasts, or other meals for visitors. To do so is part of one’s obligation to extend hospitality. Notice how David has so much security in God, his shepherd, that he can dine from the table God prepares, even in the presence of enemies. ​Our hosting shepherd honors the guest by anointing their heads with oil. The anointing is done to recognize and give honor to Gods continual love and power. God anoints and also gives a cup that has enough in it to satisfy the thirst of every believer. Surely there is no doubt about the very characteristics of God that are goodness and love! Instead of worrying about any enemies who may be in temporary pursuit, the psalmist focuses on the goodness and love that follow him permanently. Finally David expresses his conviction about where he will dwell. God dwells in heaven and in the earth. For David the best place for him is in the house of Lord all the days of his life. In doing so he remains in the presence of the Lord, his Shepherd!

Conclusion

The metaphors of shepherd and host remind us that God is our trustworthy provider. For all physical and spiritual needs, he is the source. The ultimate question, then, does not concern God’s unworthiness, but ours. Do we yield to his shepherding leadership, or do we rebel? Do we accept his provisions with a sense of entitlement? Do we walk only in his paths of righteousness, or do we take little “side trips” occasionally? Think carefully - living eternally in his presence is at stake!

Prayer

Loving God, you are trustworthy provider and protector. Even when our eyes are not on you, your eyes are always on us. You know us inside and out. Teach us to trust you more and more, and bring us back to you when we lose our way; in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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