I want to make four statements about Jesus from John 10. There, Jesus uses a metaphor for our relationship with Him. He is like a shepherd, and we are compared to the sheep. That makes Him the leader and us the followers. Look at
John 10:7-10 7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
What do we see in this passage? We see Jesus making the claim that not only is He the Shepherd for His sheep, but He is actually the gate to the sheep pen. The sheep literally go through Him to get to safety at night and they go through Him to get to pastures where they can graze and find nourishment. Where there might typically be a door or some kind of barrier to open and close for the sheep to come in and go out, we find Jesus in that spot. He places Himself where the door would be.
Jesus talks about others who came before Him (and we could also say those who have come after Him) who tried to or try to shepherd people, who tried or try to influence and instruct people about how to grow spiritually and how to be in a relationship with God, but Jesus calls all of them thieves and robbers. They didn’t and don’t have the sheep’s best interest at heart. They had and have their own agenda. They were and are using religion to control people or for some kind of personal gain. Jesus said they could not and cannot be trusted. The thief he mentions in verse 10 is the devil. The devil is not looking to add value to your life. He wants to rob you of quality of life. Jesus wants to make sure you have a full life; that’s why it is important to stick with Him.
Jesus is the gate. He is the way or doorway to a relationship with God. Salvation is found in Christ alone. There is no other philosophy, no other ideology, no other pathway to God but Jesus Christ. Jesus alone is the way, the truth and the life and no one gets into a relationship with God without going through Jesus, John 14:6. He is the connection point between us and God through His death on the cross. He took on Himself the sins of the world so that we could know God and live free from the penalty of sin. Jesus is the way to salvation from sin.
So, my first point about Jesus is simply this:
Jesus is a Savior Shepherd.
You matter to Jesus. Your salvation matters to Jesus. He has given His life to make sure you can have a relationship with God. You can trust Him. He has proven Himself. He lived a perfect, sinless life, and then, He took our sin on Himself. No one else can ever make the same claim. No one else can ever say they have lived a perfect life. No one else has ever invited you to hand the worst part of yourself over for them to carry. As the old song says, “No one else could take the sin and darkness from me. Oh, how much He cares for me.”
In Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 18:10-14, Jesus told a parable about a shepherd who had 100 sheep. In the story, one of the sheep wanders off and the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep who were still together, to go find the one who wandered off. I’m guessing most shepherds would think that keeping 99 sheep going in the same direction is a pretty good day, like that’s a good track record. If you just lose one, well, hey, you moved a far distance and kept 99 out of 100 together. If you leave the 99 for the one and some of the 99 wander off before you get back to the group, then you have lost more than the one. The shepherd could have reasoned that 99% is pretty good, right? Kids, if you get 99% on a test, aren’t you thrilled? Isn’t that an achievement worth celebrating? Who cares about the one percent you missed? An “A” is an “A” is an “A!” But Jesus is concerned about the one percent. It’s not that He is hyper about having a perfect score. It is that He is concerned about every soul. So, the shepherd in the story represents a Savior who wants every person to be saved, every person to know God, every person to make it to Heaven.
Our Saving Shepherd is on a search and rescue mission. He is still seeking to save those who are lost, Luke 19:10. It is His will, II Peter 3:9, that none should perish. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Do you want Jesus to be your Shepherd? Since He is the door, since He is the way to having a relationship with God, since He knows the way through this life and into the next life in Heaven, don’t you want to be part of His flock? You can become part this morning by allowing our Saving Shepherd to find you and bring you into His loving care.
Moving on in John 10, we read: John 10:11 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
John 10:14-15 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Not only does Jesus go in search of sheep who are lost, but we see Him doing so at great cost, at a great sacrifice to Himself. Here, in John 10, is the picture of a Shepherd who will defend the sheep from predators, from wolves and any animal who would attack. He is willing to give His life for the sheep. He will protect them at any cost.
So, point number two is this: Jesus is a Sacrificial Shepherd.
Jesus didn’t just say He was the way to salvation. He sacrificed Himself on the cross to demonstrate and accomplish our salvation. The concept of sacrifice is difficult for most of us to comprehend. What does it mean to sacrifice? If we let someone go in front of us in the checkout line at the grocery, which means our trip takes five minutes longer, is that a sacrifice? If we pay for someone’s meal when we are out at a restaurant, is that really a sacrifice? If there is one piece of cake left and we’ve already had one, but would like a second piece, but we tell another family member they can have seconds instead of us, is that sacrifice? I’m going to go with, “No.” Biblical sacrifice is weighty. It requires an all-in commitment. It comes at a great cost.
There’s a story of a pastor who introduced a visiting speaker to his church. After he did, an elderly preacher walked up to the pulpit and told this story:
A father took his son and his son’s best friend on a sailing trip when a storm overturned the boat sweeping them all into the ocean. The father managed to scramble on to the upturned hull and grabbing the rescue float and line he had to make the most painful decision of his life – which boy to throw the lifeline to and which one to sacrifice. He knew his son had accepted Christ, but his best friend hadn’t. In anguish the father yelled, “I love you son” and threw the rope to his son’s friend. By the time he’d hauled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the waves. His body was never recovered.
The father knew his son was saved and would step into eternity with Jesus, but his friend wasn’t. The father couldn’t bear the thought of his son’s friend facing eternity without Christ. What a sacrifice. The father wound up giving up his son to hopefully save someone who could then have time to accept Christ as Savior.
It was a stunning illustration of true sacrifice.
At the end of the service a teenager approached the old man and said, “That’s a nice story, but what father in his right mind would sacrifice his son’s life in hope that the other boy would become a Christian?” “You’ve got the point,” the old preacher replied. “I’m standing here today to tell you that story gives me a glimpse into what it must have been like for God to sacrifice His only Son for us, for I was that father, and your Pastor… he was my son’s best friend!” (The UCB Word For Today, 30/5/2009)
The visiting preacher had been that father who made the decision to sacrifice his own son to save his son’s friend who then did go on to become saved and went into the ministry. What a tremendous sacrifice he had made and what an incredible blessing he received to witness the salvation of that young man who then became a pastor.
On an even greater level, Jesus gave His life for the sins of the world. He is the Good Shepherd, who has laid down His life for His sheep! He is a sacrificial Shepherd.
Move on to John 10:27 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
Do you ever know who someone is just because you recognize their voice? Y’all will have to admit that my Trunk or Treat costume was pretty sweet. There were people who had no clue that was me, until I spoke. They recognized my voice and were shocked to realize it was me!
A person’s voice is distinct. Jesus, our Shepherd, has a distinct voice. He says that when He speaks, the sheep know it’s Him, and they follow Him. Point number three for today is this:
Jesus is a Speaking Shepherd.
Jesus, our Shepherd, talks to us, His sheep. We learn to hear His voice by immersing ourselves in the Bible. The Word of God is one of the main ways we cultivate a sensitivity to God’s voice. We have learned to trust Him. We are soothed by His voice. We know we will hear the truth when we listen to Him speak. We can follow His lead, and John 10:27 says that those who know Him are those who not only listen to His voice, but they are those who follow Him. If we follow Him, we are one of His sheep. If we don’t, we cannot claim to be.
Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmfduDJXM6Y
There are several Youtube videos that highlight this principle. Sheep will only come at the call of their Shepherd. After extensive time with the Shepherd, the sheep won’t come when an imposter calls. They will only follow the voice of the Shepherd. God wants you to learn to hear His voice. Keep reading the Word. Keep praying and taking time to be still and listen for Him to speak. Ask God to speak to you during our worship services, and when He does, obey and follow Him completely.
Finally, look with me at John 10: 28-29-28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
What an amazing Shepherd we have. What He gives to us, no one can take away. What He wants to provide for us, no one can sabotage. My last point is this: Jesus is a Sheltering Shepherd. That means we are safe with Him. He has hold of His sheep. They aren’t going to be lost because of some invasion. There is no power greater than His! No-one has power to steal His sheep. Jesus promises that when we follow Him, He will lead us through life and to an eternal home in Heaven.
Jesus is a Savior Shepherd.
Jesus is a Sacrificial Shepherd.
Jesus is a Speaking Shepherd.
Jesus is a Sheltering Shepherd.
My question for you is simply this: Is Jesus your Shepherd? If He isn’t, He can be before you leave today.