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HG101 John 10:1-21

Harmony of the Gospels  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  22:52
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John 10:1–21 ESV
1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by 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 may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own 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 cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” 19 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
We now come to some of the most precious pictures of our Lord found in the Gospels. There is great comfort to be found in them. But let us remember that Jesus is saying these things with the same crowd from last week and the ones before in chapters 8 and 9. In the crowd there were those who saw the bright lights of the torches and heard Jesus say: I am the Light of the World and to illustrate this he took a blind man and healed him. Also there in the crowd are His disciples witnessing everything we have been told. And then there are the Pharisees and this passage is yet another needle at them. This is a good and bad news passage. Good for those who are true followers of Jesus and bad for those who claim to be leaders of the Jews.
The imagery that Jesus uses here would not have been lost on those present. There would have been no mistaking what Jesus was on about. But to us who live in present times it is almost like an idyllic picture of the past and we miss the import of what is being said. Even if we are familiar with farming today we would understand but part of this. So let me fill in the details as we go and truly wonder at the kind of Saviour we have.
The life of a shepherd was not easy. Let us throw away an idea that it was a wonderful time and living for this is just pure fantasy. It was an incredibly hard life. Most of where they worked were on uneven, rocky and stony ground for they would tend to the sheep on land not suitable for crops or general farming. There was a large ground in the area Jesus was that had a plateau of about 500 square miles. And the shepherd and the sheep would have been a very familiar sight. Such ground, though, produces little grass which forces the continual movement from one place to another.
Sheep, being sheep, would often go over the edge or get trapped between stones, or go off somewhere. Then, there were, of course, wild animals like wolves, foxes and bears, and then there were thieves and robbers who would steal the sheep. The shepherd would have to be vigilant, courageous, patient and have a care and love for the sheep. He could not just stand and watch.
So, why is Jesus telling us about this?
John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Good Shepherd, Part 1

Jesus Christ calls Himself a shepherd and His own church His flock. He is the shepherd who will risk His life to seek and to save that one lost sheep, Matthew 18. He is the shepherd who has pity upon the people because they are as sheep having no shepherd, Matthew 9. He is the shepherd who called His disciples a little flock, Luke 12. And when He, the shepherd, was smitten, you remember, He said in Mark 14, quoting the Old Testament, “When the shepherd was smitten, the sheep are scattered.” Peter says He’s the shepherd of our souls. And the writer of Hebrews says He is the Great shepherd of the sheep.

This is in contradistinction to the Pharisees. They were shepherds of an entirely different stock. They were the leaders of the people but actually they were not true shepherds but thieves and robbers.
In this passage Jesus makes it clear that He is the Shepherd. Now, let me fill you in on a bit more of how they shepherded in the past.
John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Good Shepherd, Part 1

in each village located as the common property of the village in the center somewhere, a common sheepfold. And all of the shepherds in that village who would have their sheep out grazing on the hillside would at night lead their sheep into the sheepfold. There was a man who was hired to care for the sheepfold during the night and he was called the porter. And all the sheep would be led into the fold and they would spend the night there while the shepherd went home. The porter’s job was to shut the door and to be in front of the door on guard lest animals or thieves and robbers would come to steal or slaughter the sheep.

Remember this is a common sheepfold and you’d think they’d get mixed up. But no, when the shepherd was there they knew His voice.
John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Good Shepherd, Part 1

Now, you see, only the shepherd could get in through the door. The porter wouldn’t let a thief and a robber in, only the shepherd could get in through the door. And so the thieves and the robbers, in order to get the sheep, would have to climb the wall.

John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Good Shepherd, Part 1

Thief and robber are two different words. Thief is kleptes from which we get our word kleptomaniac, one who steals. And robber is lestes which means one who slaughters.

Depending on whether they were after meat or the wool depended upon how the sheep was stolen.
And , there has always been false shepherds. Ezekiel 34 speaks a great deal about them. In it we find the shepherds fed themselves rather than the sheep. They were getting fat and the sheep were starving. They were getting all the benefits and not passing them on. Hear the words God has to say to them:
Ezekiel 34:4–6 NKJV
4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”
These shepherds couldn’t care less for the sheep. They were rough and cruel. They are what we call heavy shepherds and causes the sheep to scatter. When they did travel to get a disciple they made them twice as bad as them. We find the same warnings in the New Testament. Our pulpits are full of them and on the TV deceiving, defrauding, lying, two-faced, and teaching liberal satanic things for their own benefit.
But Jesus is the true Christ, the true Messiah who has the right to go through the door of the sheepfold because of His sacrificial laying down of His own life.
His sheep hear His voice. Incredible. And not only that He speaks our name. He knows our names. Our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life; we were known before the foundation of the world came into being. He knew us from way before we were born and knew that we would know Him. His sheep hear His voice.
To think that He knows my name and that He knew it before the foundation of the world. And that He has that kind of a personal intimate relationship with me that He actually cares and loves Me in a special personal way. You know, the shepherds always named their sheep. Brown leg, or black ear, or something like that, or whatever particular characteristic the sheep might have, he knew their names. When he called, they knew his call. They knew it. And so He steps into the fold and He calls and they come to Him.
There a great illustration of this later on in John 20 on that first Resurrection morning and Mary Magdalene had arrived early
John 20:11–16 NKJV
11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
What happened. She did not recognise Jesus. After all she was not expecting Him to be alive. What changed? One word: ‘Mary’. And immediately she knew her shepherd.
One of the Scriptures that brings comfort to me is:
Isaiah 43:1–4 NKJV
1 But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. 4 Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you; Therefore I will give men for you, And people for your life.
He is there for us. And as our shepherd He leads us out.
John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Good Shepherd, Part 1

“In green pastures by still waters through the valley of the shadow of death, He leads me all the time.”

There is another things I want us to understand:
Sometimes the shepherd stayed out on the hills with their sheep. And they would make a sheepfold with mud or stone or other material that would have an opening for the sheep. Jesus said that not only is He the Shepherd He is also the Door of the fold. How did that work? At night the shepherd would lead His sheep into the fold for their warmth and safety and then the shepherd would lay down against the opening becoming, in effect, the door. Nothing could go in or out without first passing over the body of the shepherd. He is the door. Indeed He laid down His body for us and the only way we could be His sheep was to pass through His body. This is, of course, offensive in this age, as it has always been, for Jesus is exclusive. There is no other way, no other person, nothing that can lead to life to the full and life forevermore.
Notice that in our passage on four occassions, like a refrain from a hymn, Jesus says the same thing:
John 10:11 NKJV
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
John 10:15 NKJV
15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
John 10:17 NKJV
17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.
John 10:18 NKJV
18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
When Jesus was arrested He could have had 10,000 angels help Him but He resisted the easy way and willingly gave His life for us. And then He willingly took it back up on the Sunday breaking the hold of sin, death and hell over us.
We are of the flock, we are His sheep and He is our good shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep. Today’s sermon is more of comfort rather than what we should or should not do. Today’s sermon reveals how thrilling it is to have such a caring, loving, good, good shepherd as our dear Saviour.
Could it be you do not know the Shepherd’s voice? Today, if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts but respond and put your trust in the Good, great Shepherd and become part of His sheepfold.


Hebrews 13:20–21 NKJV
20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.


Hughes, R. K. (1999). John: that you may believe. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2014). John MacArthur Sermon Archive. Panorama City, CA: Grace to You.
Exported from Logos Bible Software, 17:12 26 October 2018.
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