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I Am the Good Shepherd - Protector - John 10:1 - 21

Posted on July 2, 2017

I Am the Good Shepherd – Protector – Part One

John 10:1-21

Scripture Reading

John 10:1 – 6

“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.

Introduction: Jesus Christ is referred to by many titles in the Bible

  • Alpha and Omega – Revelation 22:13
  • Amen – Revelation 3:14
  • The Advocate – I John 2:1
  • The Author and Perfecter of our Faith – Hebrews 12:2
  • The Cornerstone – Ephesians 2:20
  • The Consolation of Israel – Luke 2:25
  • But the most endearing name for the Savior according to many Christians down through the ages is what we will be talking about today. Jesus as the Good Shepherd.

Purpose: Every Christ followers should rest in and live in the care and the protection of Jesus being our Good Shepherd.


  • Chapter 10 is a continuation of chapter 9. The same crowd is there, the blind man who was healed, the Jewish crowd and the religious leaders
  • For Jesus to use this illustration we just read, it made a lot of sense to the people He was speaking to because either they were shepherds or knew people who were and very much aware of a shepherd’s life
    • Sheep are helpless, defenseless, straying, dirty animals. Hard to herd and shepherd
    • They need constant oversight by guiding, rescuing and cleaning them or they die.
    • Being a shepherd was a great pre-requisite to being a leader over people because there are many similarities
      • Abraham, Isaac, Jacob – the patriarchs were shepherds
      • Moses and David who were great leaders of Israel were also shepherds at some point in their lives and it prepared them well for leading Israel
      • In the OT, there are lots if images given when it comes to shepherding
      • God considers Himself a shepherd of His flock and his human leaders are under shepherds
      • In the NT, there is at times the terminology of a shepherd used – Acts 20: 1 Peter 5

Transition: As we read in the scripture reading, Jesus begins this chapter with an illustration

The Illustration – John 10:1 – 6

  • The shepherd

“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.

  • Truly, truly – Amen, Amen. What I am about to say is very, very important.
  • Sheepfold in verse one – Describe a sheep pen.
    • In each village was a pen and at the end of the day, the shepherds would herd their sheep to the community sheepfold where they would be kept safe for the night. The shepherd would go home and an under shepherd or a hired hand would stay at the pen and especially the gate to protect the sheep overnight. The shepherd would go home and sleep and then come early in the morning to call for his sheep to come out of the pen and follow him out to the lush pastures that the shepherd had picked out for the day. When the shepherd would bring the sheep to the village sheepfold at dusk, he would inspect each of his sheep at the door of the pen to make sure they were healthy. This in essence was the life of a shepherd
  • Who are the characters in this story and what do they represent?
    • The sheep in the fold are Israel
    • God gives us a picture of Him being the shepherd of Israel in;

Ezekiel 20:37 – 38

37 I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. 38 I will purge out the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against me. I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

  • The sheep are not the church or heaven because as we will see, Jesus is concerned with people or animals breaking in and stealing His sheep and they could not do that if they are secure in His church or in heaven
  • Second, the door is mentioned and this is Jesus Himself as we will see later on in this chapter. Jesus is alone the only one with the authority to lead sheep out of Israel’s fold to be His sheep.
  • Third, the thieves and robbers are the false teachers, the religious leaders who are doing the work of the devil. They are spiritually fleecing (no pun intended) and leading people to their eternal death. There were many, many false teachers in the past and many, many in our present hour.
  • One of the best ways Satan deceives people is to get them involved in a works based religion that has their eyes on obtaining or earning their own righteousness. This makes logical, human sense but is totally different than the grace and righteousness we obtain from God by repenting of our sins and relying on Jesus alone for salvation.
  • Let’s look at verses 2-4

John 10:2-6

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.

  • Jesus is calling them out of Israel into His messianic fold
  • This is God’s effectual divine call for salvation that requires a human response by faith and truth
    • He calls them by name because He knew who they were from eternity past. Jesus assumed that they are His sheep before He even calls their name

Ephesians 1:4 – 5

Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.

  • Isn’t it amazing that God knows your name?

Revelation 3:5

The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

  • Notice in verse 4, the concept of leading. A Near East shepherd leads the flock by going first and being out front to see if there are any dangers lurking, if the trail is safe, and finding good pastures for his sheep for graze on.
  • This is a picture of salvation where Jesus leads us out of the pen of the world to green pastures and quiet waters of God’s truth and blessing
  • They follow the shepherd because they only recognize His voice.

Quote: “The relationship which rapidly develops between a shepherd and the sheep under his care is to a definite degree dependent upon the use of the shepherd’s voice. They are acquainted with its unique tone. They know it peculiar sounds and inflections. They can distinguish it from that of any other person.

If a stranger should come among them, they would not recognize nor respond to his voice in the same way they would to that of the shepherd. Even if the visitor should use the same words and phrases as that of their rightful owner they would not react in the same way. It is a case of becoming actually conditioned to the familiar nuances and personal accent of their shepherd’s call.”  – Phillip Keller – A Shepherd’s Look at the Good Shepherd and His Sheep

  • Look at verses 5-6

John 10:5 -6

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.

  • The false teachers
    • As we read in the quote from Phillip Keller they will not follow the voice of a stranger. That is why they could put the sheep in a common pen and be able to sort them out each morning.
    • Someone who truly knows Christ will never completely abandon Him. They recognize the truth, they know it is from God and they follow
    • John writes in verse 6 about a figure of speech. That means a saying or teaching that has a hidden message that is symbolic and has a very important message.
    • The purpose of Jesus using this illustration is two-fold
      • One, it revealed spiritual truth to His followers
      • Two, it concealed the truth from those who rejected Him

Application: Are you and I listening and following the voice of the Good Shepherd?

Transition: Jesus gives the application and understanding to His illustration

The Illumination – John 10:7 – 21

Seven Messianic Claims

  1. 1.    I Am the Bread of Life – Chapter 4
  2. 2.    I Am the Light of the World – Chapter 8
  3. 3.    I Am the Door of the Sheep – Chapter 10
  4. 4.    I Am the Good Shepherd – Chapter 10
  5. I Am the Resurrection and the Life – Chapter 11
  6. I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life – Chapter 14
  7. I Am the True Vine – Chapter 15


  • The door – John 10:7-10
  • The door into the sheepfold – John 10:1

John 10:1

“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.

  • Jesus proclaims Himself as the door.
  • The door of the sheep – John 10:7-8

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.


  • Sometimes the shepherd slept in the doorway to protect his sheep from wild animals or thieves who would come to steal or destroy his sheep
  • Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life and the pathway to the Father and heaven – John 14:6
  • Jesus is NOT saying that all the prophets are false teachers but some were. The true followers of Yahweh did not listen or follow them
  • The door of salvation – John 10:9-10

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.

  • Jesus reiterates what He said in verse 7
  • Saved from sin and hell
  • Saved means kept safe and delivered safe and sound
  • “Find pasture” – The Lord will feed and take care of His sheep providing green lush pastures to graze upon. He will take care of our daily needs


Psalm 37:25

I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.

Lamentation 3:22-23

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

  • Verse 10 of John 10 is an often-quoted verse
    • The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. The devil is only interested in himself and taking life away from people
    • Jesus came to give us spiritual and eternal life to benefit the sheep and be the giver of life
    • That abundant life is here and now beginning at the moment of our salvation. I look back on my life and I could never have dreamed I would have the opportunities to do the things that God has allowed me to do.
    • That word abundant in verse 10 means to exceed all expectations, to go far beyond what is necessary.
    • Now the story turns to help us understand the deep, personal, and intimate love Jesus has for His sheep.
    • The shepherd – John 10:11 – 15; Acts 20:28-31

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life 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.

  • Notice that Jesus calls Himself not just a shepherd but the good shepherd
  • Good means noble character, perfect, authentic, the real deal in a class all to Himself.
  • He lays it all on the line for His sheep
    • Christ as the Good Shepherd gives His life on the cross – Psalm 22

Psalm 22:1 – Messianic Psalm

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

  • Four times in this section of scripture He uses the phrase “lay down His life.” Twice he predicted His resurrection
  • “For” is important here because it means that Jesus died on behalf of us, He was our substitute. If you or Adam, the first man, were the only one on the planet, He would have died for you or for Adam. Don’t ever forget how personal a God is that we serve
  • In verse 14, Jesus says He knows us from before the foundation of the world and when He calls us we know Him. Do you know Him today? He goes on to say that He is willing to be so intimately involved with us like He and the Father are with one another.
  • How close are you to Jesus? If you are not close, guess who moved?
    • Christ as the Great Shepherd cares for His Sheep – Hebrews 13:20; Psalm 23

Psalm 23: 1-3 – Messianic Psalm

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

  • Christ as the Chief Shepherd will come again in glory – Psalm 24; I Peter 5:4

Psalm 24: 8 – 10 – Messianic Psalm

Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle! 9 Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah

I Peter 5:4

4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

  • Notice the hired hand mentioned here

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.

  • The hired hand represents the Jewish religious leaders. They were false shepherds.
    • They did ministry for what they could get out of it for themselves. For power, fame, money, and not love for the souls
    • Notice that they are not willing to sacrifice their lives for the sheep. At the first sign of trouble they flee.
    • Have you met people like that? They are more concerned with their image and their self – preservation than sacrificing for others
    • I am thankful that He knows my name and that my name is written down in the Lamb’s book of life to read one day at my death or the rapture.
    • The flock – John 10:16 – 21

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.

  • I have sheep that are not of this fold. Who is He talking about? Some have said this could be people living on another planet? It is clear to me hear He is speaking about the Gentiles since this conversation is with the Jews.
  • As we have noted before and with numerous scriptures that the Gospel was to go through the Jewish people to the Gentiles. Jesus has a call as we see in the book of Acts for the Gentiles to be saved. They are to become one flock.
    • One flock – John 10:16; Ephesians 2:13 – 16; 4:1 – 5

Ephesians 2:13 - 16

13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

  • This was as revolutionary to the Jews as it gets
  • Asking the Jews and the Gentiles but especially the Jews to set aside their prejudices. Their prejudices not only against the Gentiles but the Samaritans.

Illustration: Remember the Titans – Great story of healing and reconciliation

  • One death, burial and resurrection – John 10:17-18; Romans 6:9-10

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.”

  • I want to key in on one word Jesus uses here; “authority”.
  • Jesus was given all authority in the universe by the Father
  • They did not execute or kill Jesus, He willingly laid down His life for all mankind so that they could be saved. It was all the plan of the Father carried out by Jesus with love and obedience toward the Father
  • Notice the exchange between Pontius Pilate and Jesus

John 19:10 – 11

10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.

  • Jesus had the power and authority to lay down His life and take it up again. No man, not even Satan himself can stop God’s perfect plan for redemption. That is how powerful a God we serve!!
    • Two reactions – John 10:19-21

19 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

  • Once again, the religious leaders gave no careful thought to Jesus words. They ridicule Him instead of repent from their sins and trust in Him by faith. They said He was demon possessed
  • Here is the hope in verse 21, These are not the words of one possessed of a demon but they trusted in the power they saw before their very eyes to be the evidence that Jesus is the Son of God.
  • Jesus as the door. The door opens for those who want salvation and closes to those eventually at the end of their life for those who reject Him.
  • Jesus as the Good Shepherd. He always is caring for His sheep with protection and provision.

 Application: Are you and I enjoying the protection and provision of the Good Shepherd?

Key Thought: The Good Shepherd protects His sheep from straying away and provides loving care for the needs of His flock.

  • One thing to note in this entire passage as we think of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. OT sheep die for the shepherd but Jesus, the Good Shepherd dies for the sheep

Three Questions to Ponder

  1. Do you recognize and follow the Good Shepherd’s voice?
  2. Do you sense God’s abundant life on your spiritual journey? If so in what ways?
  3. Do you sense God’s wing of protection in your life as David talks about in Psalm 91?