The Good Shepherd Revealed
The eye’s of a person must be given not only light, but sight in order to see. In Chapter 9 of the Gospel according to John, we read about a man who was born with physical blindness. His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” The answer was, “neither this man sinned nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
When Jesus passed by his way, the life of this man born blind was about to be changed forever. He had never seen the light of day. The Lord took notice of this blind man. With a mixture of dirt and saliva, the Lord made clay. Jesus had not introduce Himself to the blind man, He did not ask him if he would like to be able to see, He did not ask him if he had faith, or if he believed, He did not make any small talk. He simply applied clay to the eyes of the blind man, then told him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam. The man made his way to the water, and washed the clay out of his eyes, and received his sight.
We discovered the controversy over this man receiving his sight on the Sabbath. The Pharisee’s were irate. They interrogated the healed man, then his parents, then the healed man again. At all cost, they wanted to discredit the miracle that Jesus performed. A marvelous work of God had been performed and the healed man could not be convinced otherwise. When the Pharisee’s saw that they could get no where with the healed man, they “put him out” of the synagogue.
The good news is, when Jesus heard that the man had been put out of the synagogue, Jesus took him in! Isn’t that wonderful?
Here’s the story...
35 Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”
Remember , previously, I said that Jesus had not introduced Himself to the blind man? The man only knew Him as “a man called Jesus.” Well now Jesus is going to reveal Himself! As if to say, “let me give you a hint!”
37 Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.”
Up until now, he only knew about a man called Jesus, who might be a prophet. When asked, he confessed that he did not know if Jesus was a sinner or not. But he did know for certain that He was a healer, because once he was blind, but no
The spiritual blinders were coming off and now the man receives more than physical sight, he receives spiritual sight. Look at this!!!!
38 And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him.
Wouldn’t you like to hear about and see more of these miracles happen? You see, it is a miracle to truly believe. It is a gift of God to believe!
Pisteuo- Is translated believe.
It means to intimately trust, accept as true, put faith in, JESUS. It means to put into the care or protection of Jesus as the Messiah for salvation.
The Spirit of God had opened his heart to the truth. He revealed the true identity of this man called Jesus! He says Lord, I believe!
And He does not cast out those who come to Him, for it is ONLY those whom the Father gives Him that will come.
And he worshiped Him! The right and inevitable response to believing in Christ is that of adoration, wonder and worship!
Like the Apostle Paul said to Timothy, “retain the standard of sound words,” and again he exhorts Timothy, “Guard the treasure which has been entrusted to you.”
20 O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”— 21 which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. Grace be with you.
Paul’s exhortation to Timothy is to guard the true doctrines of the Christian faith. He is to avoid worldly and empty talk.
Timothy would encounter a great deal of teaching which posed as true knowledge.
This would refer, in our day, to false cults , such as “Christian Science,” which is neither Christian nor science!
Paul realized that some who profess to be followers of Christ had been taken up with these teachings and had strayed concerning the faith.
The Bible warns of false shepherds and predicted that the true Shepherd would come and provide God’s people with genuine care and right leadership.
The Pharisee’s claimed to be rightful shepherds of the people of Israel. In fact, they were only the latest in a long line of false shepherds in Israel. But Jesus classifies them as false shepherds and gives a contrast between false shepherds and the one true Shepherd (the Messiah).
1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep.
The imagery here is this! In the regions of Palestine, the shepherds would graze their flocks in the surrounding countryside by day, but in the evening, they were led back to the entrance of the fold or sheep pen, where they would be carefully inspected before being allowed to enter the fold. If any were seen to be sick or injured the shepherd would tend to them.
Now stay with me! Once in the fold, the sheep were in the care of the doorkeeper. The doorkeeper is a hired under-shepherd who would keep night watch.
Once the sheep were safe and secure inside, only the shepherds were allowed access to the sheepfold, and they had to be given this access by the doorkeeper.
Anyone who could not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but would climb or come in some other way, is a thief and a robber.
The thieves and robbers are false shepherds that would represent the Pharisees that Jesus has been in conflict with. The sheep represents the elect sheep of God.
Of the True Shepherd, Jesus says...
3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
Who is the doorkeeper? The Holy Spirit is the doorkeeper. Jesus Himself is the Door.
Now NOTICE something very important here in verse 3 it say …the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
The sheep, of various shepherds in Palestine, would be gathered into one single holding pen for the night. But in the morning, the shepherds would come to claim their sheep. The sheep knew the voice of their shepherd and the shepherd had them named. And he could call them by their name and lead them out.
The picture is that Christ is the Good Shepherd and that He alone has the authority to lead out of Israel’s fold, His own elect sheep. And because they are His, He knows their name. In fact, their names were “written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain”, and they have been given to Him by the Father.
4 When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
Shepherds were the sole source of provision, protection, and control for the sheep.
If the flock was going to stay out in the pasture all night, the shepherd would keep watch all night with a staff and rod close by, to protect them from thieves and wild animals.
Picture this, when a shepherd in Palestine received his flock, he would go out ahead of them to ensure that the passage way is safe for them. The passage way to green pasture was certain. So it is in salvation!
As the Psalmist said, so we too can can be assured, that the Lord is our Shepherd, He makes us lie down in green pastures and He leads us by the still waters.
The sheep respond to no other voice but the voice of their own shepherd.
In fact, Jesus says...
5 A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”
In ancient Israel, sheep were led, not driven like cattle. The shepherd would go ahead of them, and where the shepherd went, the sheep followed. The shepherd was not only their leader, but a watchman and protector as well. And if one sheep began to stray, the shepherd would simply call out to him by name. The sheep knew his voice and followed him.
A sheep can distinguish between shepherds. David said, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” The shepherd is also a protector of the sheep.
A sheep does not abandon the true shepherd to follow a false shepherd.
Likewise, true believers will not abandon Christ, they will not abandon the truth, of the Good Shepherd…to follow the lie of a false shepherd.
24 “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.
In regards to those who will abandon the faith, John writes...
19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.
The proving ground that we are truly His sheep, is that we will never finally and completely turn away from Jesus Christ. Any that do, only prove that neither their faith nor their salvation was authentic.
In a footnote, John writes...
6 This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.
7 So Jesus said to them again, “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 hear them.
Since the Pharisees had failed to understand Jesus further explains that not only is He figuratively the shepherd of His sheep, but He is also figuratively the Door to the sheepfold.
It is through Jesus that they must pass to find safety. It is through Jesus that the sheep comes into the fold. It is through Jesus that the sheep go out to the lush green pasture of His blessing. It is by and through Jesus that lost sinners can approach the Father in assurance and appropriate the salvation that He gives. It is Jesus alone who is “the way, the truth, and the life;” in fact, no one approaches the Father but through Jesus.
Many false shepherds, wicked kings, corrupt priests, false prophets had come but Jesus likens them to thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not hear them.
Verse 9 is one of those delightful verses which is simple enough, yet it can never be exhausted by the most learned scholars. Jesus expresses again...
9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
The fact that He is the door, tells us that it is through Him that salvation is found. Those who come to Him find access to life & sustenance.
The promise is…if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved . Saved from what? Sin and Hell.
Christ’s sheep will experience God’s love, forgiveness, and salvation; they will go in and out freely, never fearing any harm or danger. They will find satisfying pasture as the Lord feed them on His Word.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
In utter contrast to the thieving Pharisees, like their father the devil, came only to steal and kill and destroy the sheep. The Good Shepherd, Jesus the Messiah, came that they may have spiritual and eternal life, and have it abundantly.
What could ever compare to the gift of eternal life? What our Shepherd gives will exceeds all of our expectations, for He gives gifts that are indescribable.