The Good Shepherd

John 1011 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

John 10:1–18 (ESV)

1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to 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 comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 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. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 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. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 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.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

In our passage for today, Jesus contrasts himself with the Jewish religious leaders. The leaders had been given the responsibility to shepherd the people of Israel by protecting them from false teaching and leading them to live their lives to the glory of God. They had failed because they ultimately did not care about their sheep. They were only concerned about themselves.

Jesus, on the other hand, is the good shepherd. He leads the sheep to safety and even lays down his life for the sheep in order to keep them secure from harm. The sheep that belong to Jesus recognize him and follow him. The sheep that do not belong to him do not listen to his voice.

Jesus’ love for his people is demonstrated most clearly in his death on the cross. He went to Calvary willingly. He went to the cross to die for all who belong to him so that they could be saved. He gave his life for all who turn to him as their Good Shepherd and trust in him. Do you hear his voice calling to you? Follow.

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