The Real Shepherd
“The Real Shepherd” – John 10:1-21 – “Are You Blind?”
After healing of the blind man, Jesus concluded by saying, “I came to make those who could not see, to see; and those who think they see, may be remain blind.” The Pharisees standing by asked if they were blind, also which Jesus confirmed they were indeed blind, since they made themselves the teachers and shepherds of the nation Israel; because they did not believe in the One sent by God, the Lord Jesus.
The chapter divisions in the Bible are not inspired by God, but arrived at by Bible scholars to help clarify topical differences between the Greek language and our modern English language. The beginning of chapter 10 belongs to chapter nine, and verse 22 should be a new chapter, so we will study them that way.
The self-proclaimed shepherds who believed they were the exclusive leaders and teachers of Israel, are about to get a lesson in caring for sheep, by the One who created them, and the sheep.
“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.”
The seriousness of what Jesus is saying is emphasized by the term “Most assuredly”, which is equivalent to “Truly, Truly”; I say to you, means this is important; God is speaking to His people.
The one that does not enter by God’s way to lead the sheep, is a thief and a robber. A thief usually steals from someone in secret, taking what does not belong to them, and a robber does it by force. These leaders have not been appointed by God, but have perverted the Word of God with their own traditions and assertions. Those who rejected their teaching, who insisted on proper literal interpretation of Scripture, were cast out, jailed, or violently stoned.
He who enters the way the Scripture foretold, is the true shepherd of the sheep, which figuratively refers to Israel. The doorkeeper opens to this Shepherd, and the true sheep hear His voice; He calls His own by their name, and leads them out. Sheepfolds were an enclosure with only one way in or out, and either a gate or the shepherd himself would lie down across the opening to prevent thieves, robbers, and predators from endangering the sheep. It also prevented sheep from straying away in the dark. Jesus calls us one by one, individually and leads us out of the dark into green pastures. He goes before, and leads the sheep; the sheep follow Him because they hear His voice. The Spirit enables us to hear the call of Christ, and leads us. His sheep will not, and should not, follow a stranger; because they do not understand or agree with that voice, their purpose is to rob and kill.
Pastors are like doorkeepers, who present to the flock, the Chief Shepherd; and when they hear His call, He leads them out of death and darkness into the light of abundant, eternal life.
6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
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.
The OT spoke frequently of faithless shepherds, the Lord would judge, for betraying their trust and duties, to shepherd the sheep properly. They failed to understand what Jesus was speaking about, because they were not His sheep or of His fold. Their blinded hardened heart kept them from hearing the truth.
John MacArthur speaks of this passage: “This is the third of 7 “I am” statements of Jesus (see 6:35; 8:12). Here, He changes the metaphor slightly. While in vv. 1–5 He was the shepherd, here He is the gate. While in vv. 1–5, the shepherd led the sheep out of the sheep fold, here He is the entrance to the fold (v. 9) that leads to proper pasture. This section echoes Jesus’ words in 14:6 that He is the only way to the Father. His point is, that He serves as the sole means to approach the Father and partake of God’s promised salvation. As some Near Eastern shepherds slept in the gateway to guard the sheep, Jesus here pictures Himself as the gate.”
We can only come to the Father, through the only Gate, the Lord Jesus. In the OT Tabernacle, sinners had to come through the gate, to God’s salvation found only through faith in Jesus.
Thieves and robbers came before Jesus, which only had selfish motives to rob, kill and destroy the sheep, for their own benefit. Jesus came to give life to the sheep. Abundant life here in this life, and eternal life hereafter. Anyone who comes by Jesus, will be saved.
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. 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.
Jesus is not just the good shepherd, He is the best shepherd; He gives His life for the sheep.
Many times the Lord Jesus used the expression “I am,” one of the titles of Jehovah. Each time He was making a claim to equality, with God the Father. Here he presented Himself as the good shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep. Ordinarily, the sheep were called upon to lay down their lives for the shepherd. But the Lord Jesus died for His sheep.
A hireling is one who serves for money. For instance, a shepherd might pay someone else to take care of his sheep. The Pharisees were hirelings. Their interest in the people was prompted by the money or prominence they received in return. The hireling did not own the sheep. When danger came, he ran away and left the sheep to the mercy of the wolf.
Let’s look at the wolf, which comes and catches and scatters the sheep. The devil tries to catch every sheep he can to kill and destroy them, to keep them from coming to the Good Shepherd. Those he cannot catch because they truly belong to the Good Shepherd, he tries to scatter. Hebrews 10:25 speaks to this calling Christians “not to forsake the gathering together, as some do…” So we can encourage and strengthen one another through worship together. Another Scripture 1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made revealed, that none of them were of us,” reveal the result of the wolf’s scattering of the flock. The “make-believers” would become evident because they would go out (be scattered) from the flock, that is exactly what the devil wants to do, he fears if they remain with the flock, they may come to true faith in the Good Shepherd, and become part of His flock.
False shepherds do not really care about the sheep, because they are lost, blind, and in darkness themselves. They only care about themselves. Jesus knows the true sheep and loves us, and we know Him.
The Father knows Me, and I know the Father. Again telling them of His equality to God the Father, and it is the Father’s will, He lay down His life for the sheep. This is the only way sinful men can be forgiven of sin and declared righteous before God, that the eternal, sinless Son of God give His life to pay the penalty of our sin.
He has other sheep other than the fold of Israel, these are Gentile believers from all over the world, and there will only be, one flock. Only those who placed saving faith in the Lord Jesus, will be able to be part of His flock. All who hear His voice, as He calls us to faith in Him, will follow and become His sheep.
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.”
The Father loves the Son, because He is obedient to the Father’s will that He give His life for the sheep. He also claimed deity in that He has the power to give and take life, including His own earthly life. The Father has commanded all authority be given to the Son, including the power of life and death.
His sacrificial death (that is laying down of His life) was not the end; but He would take His life up again at the resurrection on the third day.
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?”
Because of Jesus’ word, that He is the Son of God, and has power over life and death; a division arose again about who Jesus is. Jesus said He came to bring a division, often between the closest of family members, over whether they believe and trust Jesus, as Saviour and Lord or not.
Many said He is demon possessed and crazy, why does anyone (why do you) even listen to Him? They cannot logically refute Jesus’ claims, so they result to personal attacks and defamation of His character. The devil wants us to believe faith in Jesus is stupid and meaningless. Worthless. We know better than that.
21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Others heard His voice and understood the truth; His words are not of a demon. Demonic words do not glorify God, nor call people to come to the Father by faith in Jesus.
Can a demon open the eyes of the blind? Quite the contrary, the devil came to scatter, kill and destroy. It would be more in demonic keeping to cause men to go blind, as has occurred in accidents, drug abuse, and self destruction. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind? It is God who has made the mouth to speak or the eyes to see, and without God’s permission, demons can do nothing. With God, nothing is impossible; and it was by the power of God and the hand of God, the Lord Jesus, gave sight to the blind. He still has the power to heal and save today.
No one from the beginning of time was able to give sight to one born blind, except the Lord Jesus. It was the tangible confirmation of His word as the light of the world, and able to give sight and life to all who were blind or dead in sin.
WAY? Have you heard His voice calling, “Come, follow Me?”
Won’t you commit to do that today, to follow Him, not matter what, no matter where. He said He leads His sheep, through green pastures, the valley of the shadow of death, and unto the Father’s house.