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John 10:11-21 - The Good Shepherd

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A.     The Shepherds Heart (v.11-18)

God Foretold That He Would Send A Shepherd To Save And To Take Care Of His People

“Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young” (Isaiah 40:10-11, NKJV)

“Therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them— My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd." (Ezekiel 34:22-23, NKJV)

“They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God. “David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them." (Ezekiel 37:23-24)

The Lord their God will save them in that day, as the flock of His people.  For they shall be like the jewels of a crown, Lifted like a banner over His land—" (Zechariah 9:16, NKJV)


1.       The Good Shepherd “Jesus Christ”—God, the Shepherd (v.11)

a)        I am the good shepherd (v.11)

1)        Jesus’ Work As The Shepherd Is Fourfold.

(a)      Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd. He is called “good” because He risks and sacrifices His life for the sheep (John 10:11, 15; cp. Psalm 22).

Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God." (Mark 10:17-18)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (James 1:17)

Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground." (Psalm 143:10, NASB95)

(b)      Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd. He is called “great” because He arose from the dead, and He perfects the sheep (Hebrews 13:20-21).

(c)      Jesus Christ is the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls. He is called the “shepherd and bishop” because He welcomes those who wandered off and went astray (1 Peter 2:25).

(d)      Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd. He is called “chief” because He is to appear and return to earth with great glory and reward the faithful (1 Peter 5:4)

(e)      God also is called a Shepherd in Scripture (Genesis 48:15; Psalm 23:1; Psalm 77:20; Psalm 80:1; Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:11-31).

2.       The Meaning of “Good Shepherd” (v.11-13)

a)        He gives His life for the sheep (v.11)

1)        The Substitutionary Death of Jesus Christ (v.11)—“for” (huper) it is a word with profound meaning when used with the death of Christ (Cp. Romans 8:32; Galatians 1:4; Galatians 2:20; Ephes. 5:2; 1 Tim. 2:6; Titus 2:14.)

(a)      It does not mean that Christ died only as an example for us, showing us how we should be willing to die for the truth or for some great cause. What it means is that Christ died in our place, in our stead, in our room, as our substitute.

I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”" (John 6:51, NKJV)

And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth." (John 17:19, NKJV)

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep." (John 10:11)

As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep." (John 10:15, NKJV)

2)        Jesus Suffered “for” Us, Leaving Us An Example (1 Peter 2:21-25)

3)        Our Response To God—A Life of Sacrifice Is One of (v.11):

(a)      Losing Your Life (Mark 8:34-38)

(b)      Living Your Life for God (Romans 12:1-2; 1Cor.5:14-15)

(c)      Offering Up Spiritual Sacrifices To God (1Pet.2:5)

(d)      A Sacrificial Life Is One Of Servanthood.  Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”" (Matthew 20:28, NASB95)

(e)      A Sacrificial Love Is One Of Forgiveness.  Therefore, Be imitators of God… and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." (Ephesians 5:1-2)

(f)       A Sacrificial Life Is One Who Thinks Of Others (Esther 4:11-16).  By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (1 John 3:16)

(g)      Jesus Says There Is No Greater Love (John 15:13).  Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:6-8, NKJV)

(h)      Jesus asks us, “Will you lay down your life for My Sake?” (John 13:36-38)

The Good Shepherd

John 10:11-21—Pt.2

Review of Last Week: The Good Shepherd, gives His Life for the sheep (v.11)

1.       The Meaning of  “Good Shepherd” (v.11-13)

a)        A hireling, not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, leaves the sheep and flees (v.12)

1)        Not A Hired Or Employed Shepherd (v.12-13)

               Definition of Hireling—(1) One who works solely for compensation, especially a person willing to perform for a fee, tasks considered menial or offensive; (2) a person who serves for hire motivated solely by a desire for material gain.

               It expresses, not only one who has no real interest in his duty, but one who is unfaithful in the discharge of it.

(a)      The True Shepherd Considers The Sheep In His Care “His Own” even if he does not actually “own” them. The mere “hireling” does not feel so.

(b)      The False, Unfaithful, Irresponsible Shepherd Has Little Sense Of Responsibility for the sheep. He seeks to benefit self, not the sheep.

Þ   His primary interest is not the sheep but what he can get out of it.

Þ    He values himself much more than the sheep (Luke 15:1-3 esp.v.2)

Þ    He seeks His own things and not the things of others (Phil.2:3-4; 1 Cor. 10:24)

(c)      He Sees Danger—Acts Cowardly, Flees (v.12b). 

1.         A Hired Helper Was Not Responsible For Attacks From Wild Animals (Ex 22:13).

“For indeed I will raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are cut off, nor seek the young, nor heal those that are broken, nor feed those that still stand.  But he will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces. “Woe to the worthless shepherd, who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm and against his right eye; His arm shall completely wither, and his right eye shall be totally blinded.” (Zechariah 11:16-17, NKJV)


(d)      He Causes The Sheep To Be Caught—in Error (v.12c).  The true shepherd will die for the sheep, the hireling would rather the sheep die.  Some of the sheep are ravaged and eaten by the dangerous wolf.

1.         The wolf is any thing or any power that seeks to destroy the sheep, such as worldliness, false teaching, and carnal men.

2)        He Lacks Genuine Care (v.13 See also Philippians 2:19-22)

(a)      He Doest Care, Because He Doesn’t Own The Sheep (V.12a).  When you own something, you tend to take better care of it than if it was not yours.  But when the Lord gives us something especially His sheep to take care of, He wants us to take care of them (John 21). 

2.       The Proof That Jesus Is The “Good Shepherd” (v.14-16)

a)        He knows His sheep and they know Him (v.14)

1)        The Lord Knows Those Who Are His (2 Tim.2:19). 

(a)      To know means more than intellectual awareness. It speaks of an intimate relationship between God and His people (see John 17:3). The Eastern shepherd knows his sheep personally and therefore knows best how to minister to them.

(b)      The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Matt.13:24-30)

(c)      He says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27).  He knows the way of the righteous (Ps.1:6) and those who take refuge in Him (Na.1:7). 

(d)      We know that when we love one another, this demonstrates that we know God, because the one who does not love does not know God (1 John 4:7-8).

2)        The Sheep Know Him, Believe and Trust In Him. 

 “For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day." (2 Timothy 1:12)

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth;" (Job 19:25)

“And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You." (Psalm 9:10)

b)        He knows His Father—the Owner and the Father knows Him (v.15a)

1)        Eternal Life Is Knowing the Father and Jesus Christ (John 17:3).  Jesus knows the Father perfectly, just as God knows everything about Him. Jesus and “the Father are one” (John 10:30).  The proof is that He knows the Father even (as well) as the Father knows Him.

(a)      Do You Know the Father? 

1.         The Pharisees thought they did but Jesus tells them they don’t (John 8:19), Jesus told the Pharisees, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”" (John 8:19, NKJV)

2.         Jesus said to Philip, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9, NKJV)

3.         Jesus said to Thomas “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”" (John 14:7, NKJV)

(b)      Pursue the Knowledge of God (Hosea 6:3)

1.         The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Prov.1:7), but fools despise this.

2.         Seek after wisdom and knowledge (Prov.2:1-9)

3.         Wisdom is the ability to avoid bad company (Prov.2:10-15)

4.         There is a “fleeing” and “pursuing”

c)         I will lay down my life for the sheep (v.15)

1)        He Will Die For His Sheep (v.15b)

(a)      Jesus did not say that He would fight and protect the sheep. He said He would die for the sheep—definitely die. He knew that death awaited Him, that His purpose was to die for them.

(b)      Jesus dropped the imagery of the shepherd in this statement. He no longer said, “the good shepherd gives His life” (John 10:11); He now said “I lay down my life.”

d)        Other sheep I have which are not of this fold (v.16 see Eph.2:11-13)

3.       The Final Proof Is The Sacrificial Death And Resurrection Of Jesus (v.17-18)

a)        He is loved by the Father, “therefore My Father loves me, because I lay down my life” (v.17)


1)        His Sacrificial Death was the Reason God Loved His Son So Much.

For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God." (John 16:27, NKJV)

(a)      He Took the Sin of Man Upon Himself To Free Man From Sin, "who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness— by whose stripes you were healed." (1 Peter 2:24, NKJV)… "And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin." (1 John 3:5, NKJV)


(b)      He Arose From the Dead To Free Man From Death, "It [righteousness] shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification." (Romans 4:24-25, NKJV)… … Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection," (Romans 6:4-5, NKJV)

(c)      Dying To Ourselves Brings (Spiritual Breaking) Glorifies the Father (Gen.32:22-28)

1.         Spiritual Breaking (v.25)—We see that Jacob is broken of his self-dependence.

2.         Jacob means “heal catcher”, “deceiver”—Jacob lived all his life as a deceiver, now God is going to break him of that in order to depend on God alone.  

3.         Application: When we are faced with situations set before us that look like they are not going to work out, do not try and handle it on your own strength & wisdom, do not look inside of yourself and say, “How am I going to work this out”, trust the Lord (Prov.3:5-6), that is what broken people do.


b)        I lay it down myself, no one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself (v.17b-18a)

1)        It was voluntary, by His power (v.17b-18a)

               In this sense, we can say that Jesus “raised Himself” from the dead.  He had the power to lay down His life, and He had the power to take it up again. 

               It doesn’t surprise us that Jehovah’s Witnesses deny that Jesus could take His own life up again. But we are surprised to see Copeland, Hagin, Price and others teach that Jesus was a helpless victim in hell, saved only by the intervention of God the Father.

(a)      The Betrayal And Arrest Of Jesus (Matthew 26:47-56)

(b)      Pilate Said To Jesus “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”" (John 19:10-11, NKJV)

(c)      On the Cross, “Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last." (Luke 23:46, NKJV)

c)         His death was the supreme act of obedience (v.18)


1)        Was Voluntary Obedience to the Father (v.18a)—Note the critical point: this “commandment” to die was of God.

                 This gives a higher meaning to the death of Jesus than just meeting man’s need. It means that Jesus did not just die because of sin, but because He wished to glorify and honor God. He wished above all else to show His love and adoration for God. 

                 This is an aspect of Jesus’ death that is often overlooked—an aspect that rises far above the mere meeting of our need. For in giving Himself as an “offering to God,” Christ was looking beyond our need to the majestic responsibility of glorifying God. This means that His first purpose was the glory of God. He was concerned primarily with doing the will of God, with obeying God.

2)        Was A Command (v.18b)

               The death of Jesus was completely voluntary, but it was not an indirect suicide in any sense. It was part of a plan to submit to death and then to emerge from it victoriously alive, according to the command . . . received from God the Father.

"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." (John 6:38, NKJV)

"Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, “Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.”" (Psalm 40:6-8, NKJV)

4.       The Response to Jesus’ Claim was Mixed (v.19-21)

a)        There was division again among the Jews (v.19-21)

1)        Jesus Said “He Did Not Come To Bring Peace On Earth But A Sword” (Matt.10:34-36).

(a)      A sword divides and severs. As far as many human relationships are concerned, He did not come to bring peace on the earth, ... but a sword (Luke 12:49-53). 

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