The Good Shepherd — Part 1

Sermon delivered on June 26th, 2016

By: Pastor Greg Hocson

Scripture Text: John 10



We have been considering the seven "I AM" statements of Christ that are found in the Gospel according to John, namely ...


"I AM the bread of life."

"I AM the light of the world."

"I AM the door." 

"I AM the good shepherd."

"I AM the resurrection and the life." 

"I AM the way, the truth, and the life." 

"I AM the true vine."


Today consider with me Jesus' statement in ...

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 


John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 


Here in our text, Jesus Christ identifies Himself as the Good Shepherd. Of the seven "I AM" statements of our LORD, this is in my opinion the most precious and intimate statement. Not only does this statement reveal His identity and it also His heart; His great love for sinners and His plan for dealing with their sin.


Two times in this chapter, He says emphatically, "I am the Good Shepherd." It is a statement full of spiritual power and assurance and instruction. 


First, this statement reveals ...

I - Christ's Divinity

In the Old Testament, Jehovah God revealed Himself as the Shepherd of His people. 

Psalm 23:1 The LORD (Jehovah) is my shepherd.


Psalm 80:1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.


Isaiah 40:10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. 11: He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.


Then our Lord made this statement ...

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 

Jesus claims to be the Shepherd of the sheep. By these words, once again Jesus declares Himself as divine, by identifying Himself with the Jehovah of the Old Testament.


"I am the good shepherd", means "I am Jehovah in the flesh, your Shepherd."


Secondly, this statement reveals ...

II - Christ's Humility

Jesus Christ stooped down to compare Himself to a shepherd. He descended from His superior position and dignity by taking the title "Shepherd". 


The Pharisees despise the shepherds

Being a shepherd is not a white collar job. It is not the most glamorous job. By the nature of their work, shepherds were considered "unclean". It is a dirty and smelly kind of job. Always out with the animals. Because they smell and they are with these animals the religious leaders looked at them as ceremonially unclean so they cannot come inside the temple building. They have to stay out there with the sheep in Bethlehem. They may raise the lambs for sacrifices but they cannot enter into the Temple.


The Egyptians despise the shepherds

Genesis 46:31 And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father's house, I will go up, and shew Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father's house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me; 32: And the men are shepherds, for their trade hath been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have. 33: And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation? 34: That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.


Despised by Jewish religious leaders and Egyptians and yet Christ was not embarrassed to identify Himself as the Great Shepherd. The Ultimate Shepherd. The Shepherd of shepherds. 


Thirdly, this statement reveals ...

III - Christ's Loyalty

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12: 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. 13: The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 


Jesus Christ is not a hireling

He is not a hired worker paid to guard and watch the sheep. The hireling does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he does not give his life for the sheep but instead, he abandons the sheep and runs away. The hireling runs away because he does not care for the sheep. All he cares is to get his paycheck.


Along with the claim that Jesus is the Good Shepherd is the warning against false shepherds. There are hirelings, says Jesus, who are not interested in the sheep. They are thieves and robbers who climb up another way so that they can steal and kill. They do not come through the door, said Jesus. They may appear to be so very good and kind. But they are not interested in the sheep. They destroy the sheep.  


Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd

And like a Good Shepherd, He was ready and willing to save, protect, and defend them, even if it means giving His own life.

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15: As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep


Like a good shepherd He will rather die than lose one. A good shepherd will risk his life, like David attacking the lion and the bear, rather than let one be taken from him. Jesus was so concerned about protecting His sheep that He was willing to die to protect them. And He did! He died to give His sheep the opportunity to live. 


O how much He cares for us ...

He condescended to their intellectual level in order to be understood. Our Lord uses an expression which, to a Jewish hearer, would immediately understand and relate to. They raise sheep, they raise cattle. This was their way of life. So this language would be vivid in their minds. They knew exactly what Jesus was talking about.


Closing Thoughts

There are only two kinds of people in this world. There are only two kinds of people in this MPR this morning. The sheep and the goats. 

Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34: Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:


Are you one of His sheep? How do I know I am a sheep and not a goat?


1. Do you know Him?  

Do you know the Good Shepherd?

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 

I am the good shepherd and I know My sheep and My sheep know Me.


John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.


2. Do you hear Him? 

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 

Have you heard His voice calling you to Himself?


A man in Australia was arrested and charged with stealing a sheep. But he claimed emphatically that it was one of his own that had been missing for many days. When the case went to court, the judge was puzzled, not knowing how to decide the matter. At last he asked that the sheep be brought into the courtroom. Then he ordered the plaintiff (accuser) to step outside and call the animal. The sheep made no response except to raise its head and look frightened.


The judge then instructed the defendant (the accused) to go to the courtyard and call the sheep. When the accused man began to make his distinctive call, the sheep bounded toward the door. It was obvious that he recognized the familiar voice of his master. "His sheep knows him," said the judge. "Case dismissed!"


Do you know the voice of the Shepherd? Have you heard the voice of the Good Shepherd? Have you heard and obeyed that life-giving voice. All other voice; all other calls sound empty and frightening when compared to the sweet call of the Lord Jesus.


3. Do you follow Him?

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me


When the shepherd calls forth his sheep, he goes before them and they instinctively follow him. He doesn't have to drive them, that is for goats. He just leads them out and they follow close behind.


What a truth! When a soul is saved by the grace of God, they will have a desire to follow the Good Shepherd! When a person is saved and their heart is right with God, they do not have to be begged to come to worship, to tithe, to share their faith, etc. They have been called out by the Shepherd and have a burning desire to worship Him.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.


Have you obeyed His will? 

John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39: And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40: And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.


Jesus Christ without a doubt is the Good Shepherd but it will not profit us at the Judgment Day that Jesus is a Good Shepherd, if during our lifetime, we never heard His voice and followed Him.


John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29: My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30: I and my Father are one.