Jesus’ Sermon about the Good Shepherd (Part 1)

Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Who is Jesus’ audience for this sermon?

This sermon by Jesus is a continuation of the story of the healing of the blind man and the confrontation with the religious authorities that is found in John 9.

There are four short sermons in this chapter. Each one is designed to speak to the crowd, including the formerly blind man, his parents, the religious authorities, and to people like you and me who are reading this passage today.

What does it mean for Jesus to be our Shepherd?

John 10.1-3“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

Jesus alone is the Shepherd of the sheep (verse 2). As our Shepherd, it is in our best interest to always follow his direction. Jesus has come from God to reveal the very nature and character of God (John 1.18). He has absolutely no self-interest in what he does, but completely serves the Father’s direction and interest (see John 5.19). No one is as qualified to be our leader as Jesus. Let’s follow him!

It is sad to say that Jesus had competition for the attention and desire to lead the crowd. Jesus identified these people as “a thief and a bandit” (verse 1). Look back to John 9.24. These thief-and-bandit people stole the honor of the man’s healer by branding him a sinner.

Any action which elevates a person’s opinion or ego above Jesus qualifies to be branded “a thief and a bandit.” The thief attempts to steal the glory and leadership from the rightful Shepherd of the sheep.

Verse three is important for people like us, “the sheep.” “The sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (verse 3). These words declare three central truths about the Shepherd and his sheep.

(1) Sheep hear the voice of the Shepherd. If we are not hearing the inner voice of the Lord, we need to check our relationship with him. Please look at the number of references to hearing Jesus’ voice in this chapter (verses 3, 4, 5, 8, 16 and 27). It is both a great opportunity and responsibility to hear the voice of the Shepherd.

(2) The Shepherd knows our name. He knows your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your desires, and much more. He desires the absolute best for your life.

(3) The Shepherd leads us. On the other hand, the thief (John 10.10) wants to steal your life. Jesus came to lead you to life. The best life possible is found, when we follow Jesus.

Beware of the stranger’s voice.

John 10.4-6 “When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.

5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

6 Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

Who should we not listen to?

(1) Beware of the usual suspects – finances, romances, negative relationships, and addictive anything.

(2) Beware of self-impressed, self-preaching, self-centered so-called ministers.

(3) Beware of someone who makes the entire Bible stand on top of one verse, rather than interpreting that verse in the light of the whole Bible.

(4) Beware of religion that makes the nation, prosperity, and race more important than following Jesus.

Learn to hear the Shepherd’s voice through prayer, Bible study, and obedience. Then, follow him to the best life possible.

The Shepherd and the thief contrasted

John 10.7-10 So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Who are those who came before Jesus (verse 8)? Chapters 4-9 identify the “thieves and bandits” kind of people. They are the religious leaders who looked past a healed paralytic (John 5) and a man who was made to see (John 9). They refused accept the feeding of 5,000 people with a little boy’s lunch (John 6), and opposed outcast women being forgiven and restored (John 4 and 8). Instead, they criticized Jesus for not doing things their way.

The good news of verse 8 is “the sheep did not listen to them.”

St. Augustine was a playboy and a drunk before he met Jesus. One day, he came into contact with one of his partying friends on one of Rome’s streets. As he turned and ran from her, she called to him, “Augustine, it is I.” Augustine replied, “But it is not I.”

When temptation comes knocking at our door, let’s ask Jesus to go and answer the door for us.

Maywood people know enough about how the thief steals and destroys life, so I don’t need to say anything more. Praise God, we also know about forgiveness, restoration and healing. We know the truth of John 10.10 and quote it often.

Your Turn

The Shepherd knows your name, your dreams, your fears, and is personally interested in your life. How does that make you feel?

The sheep know the voice of the Shepherd and refuse to listen to the thief who wants to steal life. What can you do to better hear the Shepherd’s voice today?

The Shepherd leads his sheep to the best life possible. How can you best follow his directions?

Please leave a comment for the readers of real-voices.com. It will encourage us all. Thanks.

Today’s Prayer

Dear Jesus, even the most eloquent words from us are not enough to express our praise and adoration for who you are. We praise and adore you for your absolutely amazing character and loving actions toward us.

We commit to hearing your voice and to following your direction today.

4 Comments

  1. Thank you for the list of “bewares” – these are truths we need to teach our children. Just as important as teaching them to hear Jesus as Shepherd, we need to warn them about the deceivers and liars. Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” know Him. Discernment. Wisdom. Relationship. Follow Jesus only. Test everything in the light of Scripture. This is beautiful Truth, Coach Bob. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Truly it is a time of distractibility with the world so divided and so many agendas from those who would try to take us another direction than that of truth and the most abundant life God intends for us. I am encouraged by my brothers and sisters as they continue to try to hear His voice and walk in His ways. I am comforted by knowing He never leaves us. I am praying for continued clarity and discernment. I know I need Him more than ever and He never disappoints. He will help us test what is true.

    Liked by 1 person

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