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John 10:7-18

March 9, 2014 In our last study we saw that Jesus spoke a parable to the unbelieving Pharisees about a shepherd and his sheep. The shepherd comes to the door to lead his sheep away, and, because he is legitimate, the porter opens the door for him. But there are others who want to steal the sheep and abuse them and kill them. The porter wont open to them so they have to climb over a wall to get to the sheep. The sheep willingly follow their shepherd because they know his voice and they know he is good, but they wont follow the thieves and robbers because they dont trust them. They are afraid of strangers. Now, all the things in this parable (or allegory) have meanings that the unbelieving Pharisees dont understand. Now we come to verse seven where Jesus begins to explain it to them: Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. The first thing Jesus does is show that He is the door of the sheep. The door is the point of passage to and from the green pasture. Well talk more about that in a minute, but for now we should focus on the fact that others have already come and tried to convince the sheep to follow but the sheep wouldnt listen. Who could those people be? Remember weve already said that there are men who want to lead Gods flock, but they have no legitimate right to do so. These Pharisees are included in this group so they are thieves and robbers. But this was a problem for Israel all throughout its history. In Jeremiah 23 we read: Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. 2 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. 3And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. 5Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jer. 23:16).

The sheep were scattered because they ran from the strangers, but God would bring them back together. He will set up shepherds over them and provide for them. Its interesting to note that Jeremiah was written during the time of exile and Gods people were literally scattered. There was a point to this because we can see that God was faithful to return them back to the safety of home. And behold the days come when Christ is promised and Gods sheep will dwell safely forever! We are His scattered sheep, and He came to seek and save that which was lost, and He promises that He will lead us to a good place where there will never again be hunger or fear or pain or exile. He says again,

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. The purpose of the door is to give life. The sheep dont stay in the pen all the time; they go out and find pasture. They eat. But they dont stay in the field all the time either or they will be eaten; they go back to the safety of the pen. Jesus gives His sheep both food and safety because He is the door leading to both those things. But the thief only comes to kill, steal, and destroy. He doesnt care if he scatters the sheep or not because he doesnt care about them. He will abuse the sheep and use them to make a profit just as the pastors in Jeremiah had done. But the good shepherd comes to give them life and lead them back and forth. Verse ten is abused as a health and wealth verse, but it can t be separated from the rest of these verses. Notice in 11, 13, and 17 that the good shepherd lays down his life and our Shepherd lays down His for us. His death is our atonement, but whats more important is that He has power to take it up again. Our abundant life is not in this mortal body but in Christ who is our life. As He was raised so will we be! This is far greater than being blessed with the rubbish of this world, and it explains Christian misery despite this verse. Like most of the rest of John, it should be interpreted spiritually and not from an earthly perspective. And so He says, if any man enter in, he shall be saved. We have life, sustenance, and protection through Christ. Now He reveals the meaning behind another symbol in the parable:

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I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. Theres a contrast set up here between someone who is paid to tend to the sheep and someone who owns them. One serves for money but the other serves for love. The one doing it for money sees the wolf and decides he isnt paid quite enough for this. He runs away and the sheep are left defenseless. The wolf comes in and has his way. But the good shepherd refuses to leave his flock to the wolves. He will stand between them and the wolf and even give his life if necessary. In the last passage He says that He gives abundant life, and this is the way He does it. Not only do we have the protection of the pen through the gate, but we also have the protection of the Shepherd who defends us. Think about when Joshua was attacked by Satan in Zechariah 3:3-10. Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes and Satan laid accusations against him. But the Lord gave him clean clothes and declared him righteous. When the wolf came to steal, kill, and destroy, the good Shepherd was on the watch and defended His sheep. He does the same for us so that no weapon formed against us shall prosper and no accusation will stand. But why would He do this? What is His interest in it?

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. The reason He lays down His life is because of His love and union with the sheep. Notice that He knows the Father and is known of the Father. Of course we know about this union because God is one. But notice that this comes immediately after saying I know my sheep and they know me. Remember what Paul says in Ephesians 5 about Christ and His church being one flesh. Remember what Jesus prayed in John 17. The Father and the Son are one and we are one with Christ! He is the Head and we are the Body. He is the Husband and we are the Brideflesh of His flesh and bone of His bone. Theres a union here that causes Christ to love us!

Verse 16 is used by the Mormons to show that the American Indians would later be saved. They say that Jesus rose from the dead and then came to the Americas to preach the gospel on this side of the world, but thats not at all the context. The primary source of tension for the Jews was the Gentiles. They couldnt believe that God could grant them repentance and even His disciples refused to enter a Gentile house until Peter received his dream. Jesus hints here that the Jews are His fold, but He has another fold that He will bring in. They hear His voice, and we know what that means. All who hear Him will come to Him because they are His regardless of their physical DNA. Now, its important to note here what Jesus calls these Gentiles: they are sheep. Did you get that? There are people who think that Gentiles are Gods lesser of favorites because were adopted and because we arent part of the original fold, but they dont understand Jewish adoption and they miss the fact that this other fold is still comprised of sheep. We always were His sheep if we are elect and we were never let out of His hands. Were not the second-most favorite; all the things the good shepherd does and feels for the first flock He also does and feels for the second. And He came to tear down the dividing wall between the two (Eph. 2:14) and make one fold with one shepherd! Now think about that. Whats special about the nation of Israel? How many flocks does God have? Will Israel be saved another way than the people in Alabama? Do they have special status with the shepherd? Notice it: One flock. All sheep. One shepherd. Hes lays down His life for both equally.

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18No man taketh 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 commandment have I received of my Father. This is a very important part of the passage because it shows that laying down His life is all according to the plan and covenant and its the reason the sheep have life more abundantly. Why does the Father love the Shepherd? Its because He gives His life so that He can take it up again. A shepherd who meets a wolf in the pasture might be willing to give his life for the sheep, but he won t die on purpose. Jesus died on purpose! He traded the form of God for the form of a servant just so He could do that! His death allows the sheep to live because they are now cleared of sin and avoid wrath. But then He also takes His life up again so that the sheep can keep living. No one did a single thing to Jesus that He didnt allow. The Shepherd willingly handed Himself over to the wolves. When they beat Him, plucked out His beard, stabbed Him with thorns, drove nails through His body, and stood Him up for all to

see it was all according to His will. He could have stopped it at any time, and its all the more amazing when you consider He stayed up there so long until finally saying It is finished and I commit my spirit. But this is all according to the commandment of the Father and the covenant that was made between Him and His Son. The Son would be Emmanuel, God with us. He would live sinless, reveal the Father, die for sin, and be raised for life. Jesus is the Door. He is the entrance to peace, life, sustenance, and safety. Jesus is the Shepherd. He lays down His life for us. He loves us. He guarantees that we will live with Him forever!