Summary of passages: John 10:1-13:Jesus uses the metaphor of a shepherd and his sheep to explain himself and believers. The only way into the pen is through him (the gate). The one who enters through the gate is the leader (Jesus). The sheep (believers) follow him and only him and know his voice. They will not follow a stranger. They flee from strangers.
Jesus explains he is the gate and whoever enters through him will be saved and have life. The thief comes to steal and kill. Jesus explains he is the good shepherd. He knows his sheep and they know him. A hired hand cares nothing for his sheep. He runs when a wolf attacks.
Ezekiel 34:1-16; 30-31: Ezekiel prophesies that the shepherds of the Lord (here the rulers as well as the priests) have not taken care of their sheep. They have not healed the wounded or brought back the strays. So they were scattered and became food for wild animals. Because God’s sheep has no shepherd He is against them and He will look for His sheep and care for them and bring them to Him. God declares His people His sheep and He is their Lord.
5a) The false shepherds in Ezekiel do not care for their sheep. They take everything from the sheep (curds, wool, and meat). They do not heal the wounded or the sick. They do not bring back the strays. They rule the sheep harshly and brutally. So they were scattered and eaten by wild animals. The false shepherds in John come to steal, kill, and destroy. The hired hand abandons the flock and allows it to be scattered. He runs away and cares nothing for the sheep.
b) He will search for His sheep and look after them. He will rescue them from the places they were scattered. He will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries and bring them into their own land. He will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. He will tend them in a good pasture and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. They will lie down there and graze in rich pasture. He will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak. He will shepherd with justice. They will know He is their Lord and they are His sheep.
6) Those who believe in him as the Son of God and Savior will have eternal life.
7a) Personal Question. My answers: Be armed with the armor of God: His word, His promises, a personal relationship with the Son, prayer, strong faith, the Holy Spirit, the belt of Truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:10-20). Know God’s/Jesus’ voice and follow it. Know Him!
b) Personal Question. My answer: I am so blessed I don’t know where to begin. My life, my family, my ease, my freedoms, my relationship with Jesus and God, eternal life, everything. In this season of thanksgiving, I feel very thankful.
Conclusions: Great to read God as shepherd and Jesus as shepherd. Reinforces the Trinity and how God cares for His people.
End Notes: John 10:1-13: So right after Jesus healed the blind man and the religious leaders threw a fit cause it was on the Sabbath and didn’t believe Jesus did it, Jesus talks about actually caring for people instead of caring more for legalities and rules.
In OT times and ancient Near Eastern culture, the shepherd symbolized the royal caretaker of God’s people. God himself was called the “Shepherd of Israel” (Psalm 80:1, 23:1; Isaiah 40:10-11; Ezekiel 34:11-16, Zechariah 10:2) and he had given great responsibility to the leaders (shepherds) of Israel, which they failed to respect. God denounced these false shepherds (Isaiah 56:9-12; Ezekiel 34) and promised to provide the true Shepherd, the Messiah, to care for the sheep (Ezekiel 34:23).
“I tell you the truth” is common in John’s Gospel and indicates a solemn assertion about Jesus and/or his ministry.
Political and spiritual leaders were often called shepherds in the ancient world (Isaiah 56:11, Jeremiah 31:5). Jesus explained that not everyone among the sheep is a true shepherd; some are like thieves and robbers. One way to tell the difference is how they gain entry among the sheep.
The idea is that there is a door (a gate), a proper way to gain entry. Not everyone who stands among the sheep comes that way. Some climb up some other way.
The religious leaders Jesus is speaking about gained their place among God’s people (the sheep) through personal and political connections, ambition, manipulation, and corruption.
A true shepherd comes through love, calling, care, and sacrificial service.
God wants His people to be led, fed, and protected by those who come in love.
The watchman knows the true shepherd. Towns of that time would have a watchman who watched over all the people’s sheep at night.
A shepherd knows all of his sheep and they know him. A shepherd may even name the sheep and the sheep may even know their name. He calls them and they follow.
According to Adam Clarke, there are 6 marks of a true shepherd in these verses:
· He has a proper entrance into the ministry
· He sees the Holy Spirit open his way as a doorkeeper to God’s sheep
· He sees that the sheep respond to his voice in teaching and leadership
· He is well acquainted with his flock
· He leads the flock and does not drive them or lord it over them
· He goes before the sheep as an example
In sheep pens of the time, there was only one entrance or gate. Shepherds would sleep in front of the gate at night to protect the sheep. Hence, the shepherd is the gate.
“All who came before” are the religious leaders Jesus spoke of in John 8:43:47–those whose father is the devil.
Jesus’ followers did not listen to the thieves and robbers.
“Come in and go out” is the common O.T. expression to denote the free activity of daily life. Jeremiah 37:4, Psalm 121:8, Deuteronomy 28:6.
“Abundant” in the Greek denotes a surplus. Abundant life is a contented life. It’s not an easy life or comfortable life but one of peace in Jesus.
“I am the Good Shepherd” (Another I am statement–the 4th of 7 that are unique to John’s Gospel and point to Jesus’ unique, divine identity and purpose) is clear to the Jews–He is the one to care for them.
“Lays down his life” is perpetually. Jesus is always giving us life.
In sum, the Good Shepherd: gives his life, knows his sheep, and is known by his sheep. This analogy applies to church leaders and pastors today.
Ezekiel 34:1-16, 30-31: God promises the removal of the false shepherds and the promise of the Good Shepherd (Jesus). The shepherds here are more rulers and their officials than the priests. Remember David was the first ruler and he was shepherd. This is deliberate. To call a king a shepherd was common in the East at this time. The disciples were fishermen whose job was to catch fish (men) for God.
Fun Fact: The image of God as a shepherd begins with Jacob (Genesis 48:15) and end with Revelation 7:17. Ezekiel developed the image of God as shepherd in more detail than any other author in the Bible.