This passed month we have been looking at the names of Jesus has many names and many powerful functions and responsibilities.
Many time we look at His names and just glance by them but His names always deserve our attention because there are reasons why Jesus is called what is He called.
There are reason behind the names.
This mornings name has deep many too.
It is one I am sure everyone has heard, Good Shepherd.
Jesus our Good Shepherd.
Unless you have studied the meaning of this term or have visited a sheep farm, you might not understand exactly why Jesus is called the Good Shepherd.
Well this morning we will take a look at why Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we will see three reasons why Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
Three reasons Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
If you have your Bibles turn with me to John 10:11-18
Jesus is teaching the people about Himself and using a very powerful metaphor that the Israelite would have understood.
In the same way that David the King personified God as a shepherd in Psalm 23, Jesus here uses the same metaphor to explain Himself and His relationship to the nation of Israel and the world.
In verse 11 Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
In order to understand this metaphor we need to have an understanding of a shepherd.
The shepherd as Jesus uses the term here is one who owns a flock of sheep.
The sheep are very important to a shepherd.
They are his livelihood.
He makes money from the sheep, weather it is having them for food or sheering them and selling the wool for clothing their lives are wrapped up in the sheep.
They also spend a lot of time with the sheep.
Pretty much day and night they are with the sheep.
Since they are his property and they are his livelihood, the shepherd will do what he can to protect his sheep.
The Good Shepherd Protects
Jesus being the good shepherd is more then Him just being the shepherd.
He is the good shepherd this is a designation that is only reserved for God.
This is actually a contrast to what Jesus says in the next verse.
Verse 12, “He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.”
So the shepherd is the owner of the sheep and the hired hand is well the hired hand.
The hired hand is not going to care for the sheep the same way the shepherd will.
A hired hand is there for his paycheck and that is all.
He doesn’t care about the sheep the same way the owner does because if the sheep are lost, then he will just get another job somewhere else.
He also won’t put his life on the line for the sheep.
The shepherd will guide the sheep away from danger and protect the sheep.
The hired hand will instead protect himself and run away from the sheep.
The danger in this is the wolf will ravage the sheep.
He will tear some to shreds and the rest will scatter.
Now the scattering will be worse for the shepherd because now he has to go and round up his sheep and this could take him a long time.
This also means the shepherd won’t be able to protect them from danger because they are scattered.
So what the wolf doesn’t ravage the shepherd will lose.
That is why the shepherd is a Good shepherd and the hired hand is not, because the shepherd owns them and the shepherd also cares for them.
The hired hand doesn’t care for the shepherds sheep.
They only care about themselves.
They are there to make money and if there is danger involved they flee because they don’t care.
The good shepherd on the other hand cares about his sheep.
Because of this care we find that the shepherd will do what it takes to protect His flock.
Just like the young David told Saul.
(Look up David and Goliath)
David’s responsibility was to protect his sheep.
Notice how he went after a lion and a bear and he trusted in God’s care for him as he did.
Jesus’ responsibility is to protect His sheep.
He will also lay down His own life for them.
David was not a hired hand, but the sheep were his father’s, so they are also his.
A hired hand would not have done what David did.
A hired hand also wouldn’t have had the trust in God the way David did.
This is why David also wrote Psalm 23.
He knew what it meant to be a shepherd and when David thought of God, he thought of how God provides for His people, protects them and prepares a place for them.
All of that is in Psalm 23 and when we look at Jesus and He calls Himself the Good Shepherd, there is an allusion to God as the shepherd in Psalm 23.
In the same way God cares for His people, Jesus cares for His people.
In the same way God placed people over the nation of Israel to care for them, they would fail because they were only hired hands and not the shepherd to the flock.
The problem with the hired hands that God would put in place was, they didn’t own the flock and they didn’t care about the flock.
They only cared about themselves.
Everything they did was to benefit themselves.
They never pointed the people back to God.
Even when they did it was always half hearted never all in.
Man is always out to glorify self but Jesus is out to glorify God.
Not only did the hired hands not fend off the wolves they actually allowed the wolves to come into the fold become friendly with the flock so when they did ravage the flock the flock didn’t budge, they didn’t even notice.
The Good Shepherd is Loyal
The Good Shepherd on the other hand cares for His sheep.
He is not a hired hand and He knows who the wolves are and His job, His task is to expose those wolves and to protect His sheep.
Notice I said His sheep.
He doesn’t protect all sheep, only His own.
See He says this in verse 14, “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father know Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”
See Jesus knows His own and His own know Him.
He compares this to Jesus Himself knowing the Father and the Father knowing Him.
There is a close relationship between Jesus and the Father, and in this same way there is a close relationship between Jesus and His flock.
A very close relationship.
The relationship between the Father and the Son deals with the idea of submission, or obedience.
Jesus knows the Father and what the Father’s will is for Him.
It is to lay down His own life for His own people.
This He does because He followed God perfectly and was aligned perfectly with God’s will.
This is submission, this is obedience and when it comes to sheep they are submissive to the shepherd.
They know their shepherd and their shepherd knows them.
The sheep spend so much time with the shepherd that the sheep know the shepherd’s voice.
The shepherd knows his sheep so well he even names them and the sheep know the voice of the shepherd.
Jesus knows our names and knows them well.
When Jesus resuscitated Lazarus He went to the tomb had them open it up and He called Lazarus by name.
He said “Lazarus come forth.”
There are two reasons why I believe He had to call Lazarus by name first because if He only said come forth all the dead would have risen.
Second, and this is more what I believe, and keeping with the context of the chapter and what Jesus says here.
Jesus knows His sheep, He calls them by name and when He calls them by name, they come forth.
Do you know when the event of Jesus calling Lazarus forth happens, chapter 11.
It is the very next event after Jesus teaches these lessons with the metaphor of a sheep and shepherd.
Jesus knows His own and His own know Him.
So when He calls His own will listen.
They will come to Him.
Jesus wants us to know Him in the same way He knows the Father.
Jesus and God are One, but Jesus had to know the Father’s will.
That is why Jesus spent a lot of time in prayer so that He would continually align Himself to the Father’s will.
Jesus always had opposition, there was always someone out to stop Him.
Don’t get me wrong, Jesus couldn’t sin so He was never going to fall for the ways of the world but He still need to be aligned with the will of the Father, He still need to be sure He was following the Father’s plan.