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John 10:15, 710, 1418, 2530comment (0)

November 14, 2013

By Jay T. Robertson

Related Scripture: John 10:15, 710, 1418, 2530

Explore the Bible 
Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile


John 10:1–5, 7–10, 14–18, 25–30

Everyone wants to feel secure. People install security systems in their homes. They download software to protect their computer systems. They pay a company to keep their identities safe. None of these efforts are 100 percent reliable. In spite of all of these measures, thieves can still break into homes, viruses can still infect computers and identities can still be stolen. As a result, people begin to wonder if anything is secure. Some people even wonder about their relationship with God. Is it really secure? What must be done to secure that relationship? The Bible teaches that God’s pleasure in us is not based on our performance for Him. Rather God’s pleasure in us is based on Jesus’ performance for us.

Jesus Guides Us (1–5)

Jesus employs the beautiful imagery of the shepherd. The shepherd would call out to his sheep by name and the sheep would follow their shepherd, for they know his voice. Just as the shepherd would lead, feed, direct and protect his sheep, so Jesus, our Good Shepherd, leads, feeds, directs and protects His followers. People who truly belong to God listen to and believe the words of Jesus.

The shepherd imagery depicts leadership, protection and provision. The sheep imagery depicts our dependence on a shepherd. Being called a sheep in the Bible does not exalt us in any way. The designation is actually quite humbling. Sheep are dumb, directionless and defenseless. For a sheep to survive, it had to have a good shepherd. For us to survive in this Genesis 3 sinful world, we must have the Good Shepherd.

Jesus Gives Us Life (7–10)

Jesus contrasts His loving care for the sheep with those who “came before,” an apparent allusion to messianic pretenders and the religious establishment that had dogged Jesus’ every step. These, Jesus says, are really thieves and robbers who do not love the sheep and do not have their best interest at heart.

In contrast to the many false shepherds of Israel, Jesus, the very “door” to the sheepfold, will provide eternal life and salvation for all those who enter in through Him. Entrance into the sheepfold is by faith in the shepherd. Thus belief in Christ characterizes those who are His sheep. That His sheep “will go in and out and find life and have it abundantly” represents the fullness of life and freedom found only in the Good Shepherd.

In verse 10, Jesus paints a dramatic contrast between Israel’s true shepherd and the “thief” whose real agenda is death and destruction. In contrast, the Good Shepherd has come in order that through Him the sheep “may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus did not come to add years to your life; He came to add life to your years.

Jesus Gave His Life for Us (14–18)

Jesus’ sheep know Him as their personal shepherd, and Jesus knows them with the same degree of knowledge, love and commitment expressed within the Trinity itself. The awesome love the Father and the Son have for each other is extended to embrace those whom the Son calls His own.

That Jesus has “other sheep that are not of this fold” indicates that His saving love extends beyond the boundaries of ethnic Israel. The Gentiles who believe in Christ will be brought into His fold where all believers without distinctions of race or class will be “one flock” under the loving guidance of “one shepherd.”

The Son voluntarily gives His life in sacrifice for the sheep in obedience to the Father’s command and then takes it up again in the resurrection. The Son alone has full authority to both give His life in death and to take it up again.

Jesus Gives Us a Guarantee (25–30)

Those sheep who belong to Jesus’ flock are characterized by obedience, recognition of the shepherd and allegiance to Him. As a consequence of His timeless love for them, He not only grants them eternal life but He also guarantees their eternal preservation.

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