You’re a sheep—at least you are if you’re a true follower of Christ. We all are, and many times we act just as stubborn and stupid as sheep can act. But the good news is we aren’t just left to our own supposed self-sufficiency, because Jesus called himself our Shepherd. And He’s not just any hired-hand of a shepherd, Jesus is the kind of shepherd who loves and cares for His sheep so well, He even lays down his own life to save them. Here to explain is our favorite teacher Kathi McCarty, with a lesson from John chapter 10.
Table Talk Notes
John 10:11-18 | I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 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. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 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. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 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.”
Did you know sheep are…
- Dirty: They have no ability to cleanse themselves.
- Defenseless: They have no means to protect themselves.
- Dependent: They require more attention than most any other animal.
- Dumb: If left to themselves, will destroy themselves.
Did you know shepherds were…
- Despised and treated as outcasts.
- Considered unclean & if you had contact with one, you were ceremonially unclean.
- Not allowed to be witnesses in court or to serve as an elder in community or temple.
And did you know…
- In every I Am, Jesus took heroes of faith like Moses, Abraham, David (all shepherds between) and says “I am infinitely elevated above everyone & everything” & the Pharisees saw this is heresy.
- Now he contrasts Himself w/the Pharisees, who are nothing more than hirelings! 1 Pet 5: So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
The “Good” Shepherd
- Good/Gr: kalos – morally good, and beautiful & valuable.
- A shocking statement to His listeners. Only God is good and King David was their shepherd.
- Jesus establishes that He is greater than David and has pre-eminence.
As the Good Shepherd…
- He is willing to die for His sheep (v 11, 15, 17, 18) Repetitions give greater importance to the statement
- The shepherd stretched out in the doorway of the sheepfold, willingly becomes vulnerable to attack & death.
- The Shepherd willingly stretched out on a cross – subject to attack & death.
- He knows & loves His sheep & they know Him (v 14)
- Know/Gr: gnosko – to experience, on an intimate level.
- He provides for our needs; pilots our lives with guidance and direction; protects us, satisfying our need for security; and pursues us, knowing our need for mercy & compassion.
The Good Shepherd’s death
- Voluntary: Jn 10:18 “I lay down my life; no one takes it from Me but I lay it down of my own”
- Violent: Crucifixion was one of the most horrific forms of torture/death.
- Victorious: All four gospels recount Rev 1:18 speak of “the keys of death and Hades….” Rev 1: 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
The Good Shepherd’s life
- 16 – He is a Shepherd to ALL who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of the Living God, Savior of the world.
- John 11: 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
- 1 Pet 2:6 “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
- John 10: 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
- Rom 4:11 – Jesus was preparing the Jews for the Gentiles’ admission into the sheepfold. Rom 11: 9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
- Have you surrendered the entirety of your life to the watchful eye and love care of the Good Shepherd, Jesus?
Eph. 1: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”