The Good Shepherd Who Seeks My Good
John 10:11-21 The Good Shepherd Who Seeks My Good Introduction: Last week we began our study with the observation that human beings long for a king. A king who will calm their fears and give them a quality of life. We showed how this is also the ideal of scripture. One King, who will reign over God’s people giving them salvation and a new quality of life. We considered Jesus statement about being the door through which we receive salvation and continual provision. This morning we come to another one of Jesus’ powerful statements out of John Chapter 10. Jesus says, “I Am the Good Shepherd.” Jesus has called himself the Bread of Life, the light of the world, and the Door which all speak to and challenge our lives in deep and profound ways. But I think of all of these statements of Jesus, this one speaks directly to our hearts. This is one of those profound truths that touches people of all ages. What is God like? This statement tells us something not about the power of God or God as source of Life but God as caretaker. God is like a shepherd among his sheep. Every night since my son Judah was about six months old, and now with our younger son, Hudson as well, we sing Psalm 23 before bed. Which of course begins, “God is my Shepherd, I won’t be wanting…” What words of comfort they are… It strikes me once again, the amazing condescension of God. Psalm 138:6 says, “For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly.” Our God is the God for the weak, the God for children, the God for the outcast, the God of the lambs, that great shepherd of the sheep - what a juxtaposition to the tyrants that have ruled the world…to those that have ruled on pain of death, that have taken rather than have given…I love what Napoleon Bonaparte once said: “I know men; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him.” -Napoleon Bonaparte 1. I Am the Good Shepherd 1. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. 1. “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.” 2. Jesus is called the Good Shepherd. Good can also be translated beautiful, noble, or honorable. It doesn’t refer to what Jesus looked like it’s the sheer attractiveness of what, as the shepherd, he was doing. 3. The definition of a true shepherd is that he isn’t in it for his own profit, and the supreme test comes when he faced with a choice. A predator appears - a lion, a wolf, or a bear. You can tell a true shepherd from a false shepherd by what they do. The false shepherd saves himself and his prospects - at the cost of his own reputation. The true shepherd shows who he is by being prepared to die for the sheep. And for Jesus this violent death isn’t just a possibility it’s his vocation. 4. The sheep are facing danger; the shepherd will go out to meet it and if necessary he will take upon himself the fate that would otherwise befall the sheep. It Jesus case it was necessary and he did. 5. This is the theme of the entire Bible, the theme of all of history. God, the Creator and sustainer of all things, chose to die so that His creation can be reunited with Him and experience life the way it was meant to be. Through man’s disobedience there was an created an impossible divide between God and us. The distance was that He is Holy and perfect, and we became sinful through disobedience. We might have good intentions sometimes, but other times we are mean and nasty, and even in our good intentions we still do wrong. The only way for wrong things to be made right is for justice to be served. And this is exactly what The Good shepherd has come to do meet out the just requirements for sin. Jesus lived a perfect life, completely free of sin. When He died in our place He was paying the price for all the wrongs that ever happened or will happen in the future. He through his death and resurrection has conquered sin. 6. But lest we think of Jesus only as a victim, He goes on to tell us of his active role in his death, which heightens so much the depth of his sacrifice. HE lays down his life -No one takes his life from him - he has the power to lay it down and the power to take it up again. Jesus work in redemption was an active, willing obedience, he was not forced. He chose to suffer, he chose to die, because of his great love for us. 7. Jesus shows us through this statement and his contrast with the hireling’s that he is with us and for us no matter what, through thick and thin, even through death, from new-birth to resurrection into all eternity.. he will never leave us or forsake us….He is truly the Good Shepherd that leads in paths of righteousness, to green pastures and still waters and even through the valley of the shadow of death - he is with us… 8. No one is so committed to your good like God (talk about this). 2. The Good shepherd is personable -“I know my own and my own know me.” 1. “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.” 1. When we think about the fact that when the prophet Isaiah speaks of Christ he calls him “Immanuel” - the God who is with us. 2. "In Him, we shall discover a Mind that loved his own creation so completely that he became a part of it, suffered with and for it, and made it a sharer in His own glory and a fellow worker with Himself in the working out of his own design for it" - Dorothy Sayers 3. Immanuel, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendor. 4. Think of David’s own words - “The LORD is my shepherd.” Throughout Psalm 23 David is constantly using these personal pronouns. 5. Psalm 23 (The Shepherd Psalm) is very personal. There is no "we" or "us" or "they," but only "my" and "me'' and "I" and "he" and "you." It is an overflow of David's personal experience with God. One of the reasons it has such an attraction for us is that we all hunger for such authentic experience with God. We get that same feeling here as Jesus is describing his relationship with the sheep. 6. But this intimacy this personableness is only possible because Jesus laid down his life and took it up again. Jesus tasted the bitterness of death that we might taste the sweetness of fellowship with Him and the Father now even into all eternity. 3. “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.” 1. The wording here is quite curious. We know that the Father loved the Son far before the Son’s sacrifice. Jesus even says in John 17, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” What Jesus means here in our passage is that the love of the Father for the Son is stirred up again because of the Son’s willing sacrifice for the world that the triune God loves. The occasion has caused the Father to express his love for the Son afresh - think about, “My beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” The Father loves and is so proud of the Son who rises to the occasion to take care of the family business of redeeming the world. 2. The Father loves the son, because the son is making known the Love of the Father through his self sacrificial death and resurrection that then brings us into this deep intimacy with God - where we know and are known by God. 3. This is what Paul was speaking of in Philippians 2:5-11 How the Father responds to the work of His Son-“Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 4. The Father loves the Son and is so very proud of his sacrifice that he bestows on him a name that is greater than any other name! 5. The Father is so pleased with his Son, "His beloved son in whom he is well pleased". Pleased at his work, his humility, his willing obedience, even to death, pleased with his work of victory over the devil, sin and death by his resurrection, pleased with his work of redemption for the creation, so pleased that the Father has honored him….He is the risen one, the victor, heaven’s champion, and he reigns over all!! 6. “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” -Revelation Conclusion: How are we to respond to Christ words and work? The crowds response is mixed -“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?” He has sought my good and my comfort more than any other; he is more committed to me and my good than any other, therefore I respond by being committed to his glory and praise more than any other person or thing…. We praise with our lips - giving thanks, praise, recognition to him and through our deeds. Our choices honor his sacrifice and his work, our life style is to honor him above all.