THE LIFE OF CHRIST
In our last lesson, we finished up John 9. Chapter 10 picks up where chapter 9 leaves off. After Jesus told the Pharisees, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains” (Jn 9:41), He continued speaking to them through verse 21. The phrase “Most assuredly (NKJV)” or “Verily Verily (KJV)” in verse 1 proves this because this phrase is not used to introduce a new topic. Jesus was about to teach these Pharisees that He is the true Shepherd.
John 10:1"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 "But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 "And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 "Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
The gospel of John does not contain any parables. However, some consider our text to be a parable and they call it, “The parable of the shepherd and the sheep.” Even the KJV calls this a parable in verse 6. However, the Greek word used here is “paroimia” (part-ah-row-me-uh) which means a wise saying, proverb, maxim, or allegory, so it is not a parable. In comparison, the synoptic Gospels never use the word “paroimia” to describe a parable. They use the Greek word “parabole,” (puh-ar-buh-lay) which means “something that serves as a model or example pointing beyond itself for later realization” (BDAG). This saying of Jesus was used to describe the role of a shepherd and to symbolically show that He is the true Shepherd.
A shepherd was a man who would protect and lead his sheep to safety. There were many dangers he would face, but he was willing to give his life to protect his sheep. At nighttime, if he could find a cave to put the sheep in, he would lay at the entrance making himself a door to the sheep. Any animal that wanted to eat the sheep would have to go through him first. If there was not a cave available, he would build a protective wall from stones or thorns and lay at the entrance of it as well.
When the shepherd brought the sheep back into the village, he would put them into the sheepfold. A sheepfold was a place build in the village to hold the sheep, but it did not have a roof, and a guard would be hired to watch the gate of the sheepfold. However, those who wanted to steal sheep would climb over the wall and take them.
Jesus gave an accurate description of what is involved in being a shepherd, but at the same time, He was calling these Pharisees thieves and robbers because they were not the true shepherds. Throughout the history of the Jews, they had deviated from God’s plan over and over. As time went on, the Scribes and Pharisees had been leading the people astray by all their manmade regulations. In essences, this made them thieves and robbers because they did not gain their followers by entering through the door of truth.
Since shepherds spend a lot of time with their sheep, they learn to trust their shepherd and follow their lead. The shepherd can call them by name and they will follow. Sometimes in these sheepfolds there would be different sheep from different shepherds, but when a shepherd came to gather his sheep, all he had to do was call them, and they would follow him. The sheep that did not belong to him would stay in the pen.
Jesus is symbolically calling Himself the Shepherd and calling these Pharisees the strangers. Back in our example of the blind man in John 9, he heard the voice of Jesus and after he received his sight, he would only follow the voice of Jesus. Even though the Pharisees tried to get him to listen to their voice, he would not because he trusted in Jesus’ voice. Verse 6 tells us that the Pharisees did not understand what Jesus was talking about.
John 10:7 Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 "All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear 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 does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
In verses 7 and 9, we have our third “I am” statement in John. Jesus metaphorically calls Himself a door, which gives us two different thoughts. First, this means the only way to have salvation is through Jesus, which is taught elsewhere such as:
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Acts 4:12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
The only way a person can go through Jesus is by obeying His Word (Jn. 14:15). Second, if a person wants to have spiritual fellowship with the sheep, they must go through Jesus and abide by His authority.
Those who do not enter the flock through the
door are considered thieves. These thieves are only interested in themselves,
and they do not care if the flock is killed or destroyed, which is exactly what
the Jewish leaders were guilty of. They did not care about anyone but
themselves. There is a great example of this in
Ezekiel 34:1 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: "Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 "You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 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." 7 ' Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 8 "as I live," says the Lord GOD, "surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock" -- 9 'therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD! 10 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them."
Even though these Pharisees did not have the peoples’ best interest at heart, Jesus did. He came to the earth, so we could have life more abundantly.
There are many nonChristians who think the life of a Christian is boring, depressing, and restricted. However, this is untrue because the life of a Christian is exciting and it is full of joy and happiness because we know we have a God that loves us and has promised us eternal life in heaven. The life of a Christian is far from being boring. While it is true that a Christian is restricted from living in sin, the rewards that we receive as Christians far out weighs sinful living. Paul understood this idea as we can see in:
Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul had everything a worldly person would want. He was popular and those like him looked up to him, and he was no doubt well off, but once he learned the truth about Jesus, he knew all these things he enjoyed were not worth anything compared to being in Christ.
John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 "But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 "The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.
When Jesus says, “I am the good Shepherd” is His fourth “I am” statement in the Book of John. Not only is Jesus the door, He is the true Shepherd. Jesus is the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy in:
Ezekiel 34:23 "I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them -- My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 "And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.
These verses in Ezekiel are not talking about David himself because he was already dead when this was written. He is talking about a future son, which is Jesus because He is in David’s lineage. Even the opposing Pharisees knew that Christ was the son of David as can be seen in:
Matthew 22:41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 saying, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?" They said to Him, "The Son of David."
Since Jesus is the good Shepherd, it also proves He is God because God was considered the only Shepherd of the Jews (Ps. 23:1; 79:13; 80:1; 95:7). Jesus is the good Shepherd because He was willing to give His life for ours because He loves us. However, the hireling was someone that was paid to watch the sheep, and they did not love the sheep. They were not that concerned about them because they did not belong to them. So, if danger, came along, they would flee for their lives and leave the flock defenseless.
The hireling represents the Pharisees because they were not willing to put their lives on the line for the people because they were only concerned about themselves. Sometimes we can find hireling in the church. For example, an elder can be a hireling if he only took the position for power or to feel important. Preachers can become hirelings if they do not preach all God’s truth because they do not want to lose their jobs.
In verse 14, Jesus confirms again that He is the good Shepherd and He knows His sheep and is known by His sheep. It should be comforting to every Christian to know that Jesus knows who we are and even knows our names. As His sheep we must know who He is by studying God’s Word.
The reason many thieves have been able to steal from God’s flock is because the sheep are not making an effort to know Jesus. Many today have lost their desire to learn about Jesus’ authority in the Scriptures. When this happens, it allows a person to be “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Eph. 4:14). Jesus said that those who know Him will not follow a stranger’s voice, but those who neglect the Scriptures will.
John 10:15 "As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
Verse 15 shows Jesus close relationship with the Father. No human knows the Father like Jesus does. However, we can know the Father through Jesus. Jesus makes it clear that He is going to give His life for the sheep. There is no greater love that can be shown than for Jesus to willingly give His life for us. As Paul said:
Romans 5:6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
When Jesus talked about there being other sheep that are not of this fold, He is talking about the Gentiles. When Jesus died for us, He died for all. Both Jews and Gentiles would be able to become part of the one flock with one Shepherd, which is Jesus. Paul taught the Ephesians about this starting in:
Ephesians 2:11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh -- who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands -- 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (See also Gal. 3:27-29).
Some teach that Jesus was referring to denominations with the term other sheep, but that is twisting this Scripture because it is obviously talking about Gentiles. Besides, the Word of God teaches against denominations in verses like:
1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ." 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
Paul makes it clear that there is no justification for dividing ourselves into denominations and calling ourselves after other men. Jesus died for us. He is the head of the church and prayed to the Father in John 17 that we all be one. We are supposed to unified based on God’s Word. I personally think it reeks of desperation to try and twist Jesus’ words to mean denominations because as I said, He is clearly talking about the Gentiles.
I do not care if people do not like what I say about this because God’s Word makes it clear that there is only one church that Jesus’ built. Jesus told Peter:
Matthew 16:18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
So, the common saying that many profess that one church is just as good as another is as wrong as it can be. Let s never buy into the tactics of man or back down from the truth found in God’s Word just because religious groups try to justify their divisions.
I certainly do not deny that there are many wonderful people in denominations who do great deeds and make a difference in this ole world. I certainly appreciate the good they do and even how they proclaim a lot of truth, but it is not good enough to proclaim part of the truth or to separate yourself from the church that Jesus built.
Please understand that this is not my opinion. No, Jesus makes this truth absolutely clear in:
Matthew 7:21" Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
Jesus asks a very important question in Luke’s account:
Luke 6:46 " But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?
You see, it is not enough to say that Jesus is your Lord or that you are a spiritual person. It is not enough to do good deeds and to follow some of God’s Word. No, we must do our best to do the will of the Father. If we really love Jesus, then we will obey all of His commands to the best of our abilities. We cannot keep the ones we like, reject the others, and add on things that we like. Denominations certainly fall into the category because they are an addition and are not authorized in Scripture.
We should never be ashamed to point that the Bible only speaks about there being one church that Jesus purchased with His blood. The way you can know you are part of that church is by simply obeying God’s plan of salvation and worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.
John 10:17 "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 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."
Jesus was perfect at following the will of the Father. The Father loves everyone who is obedient to His will. Jesus lets these Pharisees know that no one can take His life until He chooses to give it. This statement was true because over and over again the Jewish leaders sought Jesus’ life, and many times people picked up stones to throw at Him, but nothing ever came of their attempts because it was not His time to die.
In these verses, Jesus was speaking of His death and resurrection. He knew once He laid down His life that He would be raised from the dead because it was the Father’s will.
John 10:19 Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. 20 And many of them said, "He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?" 21 Others said, "These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"
Division was a common occurrence when Jesus taught the people. Some would open their eyes to the truth and realize that Jesus was the Son of God while others were too prideful to accept the truth. Some of them tried to accuse Him of having a demon, but others made a valid argument that a demon could not open the eyes of the blind. Since they talked about Him opening the eyes of the blind, it implies that this event is a direct continuation of chapter 9 because they are referring back to the blind man Jesus healed. Jesus ability to heal the blind shows His Deity. As far as I know, this never happened in the Old Testament, but Jesus was able to do it on several occasions, therefore He is Lord. Those who were unwilling to open their eyes to the truth would remain spiritually blind and would remain in their sins.
In conclusion, I hope you have learned from this lesson how important it is for us to realize that Jesus is our Shepherd and that we can only have salvation through Him. Like a good Shepherd, He knows us all by name and He loves and care for each and every one of us. As sheep, we should follow the instructions of our Shepherd knowing that His commands are exactly what we need.
Jesus will never lead us astray. So, we can put our full trust in Him. I want to close this lesson with the beautiful Psalm 23:
Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.