By Following the Good Shepherd

Dustin Folden May 23, 2021 John 10:1-21
Outline

4 reasons we follow Jesus our Shepherd

I. Jesus Is the True Shepherd (v. 1-6)

A. In contrast to thieves and robbers

B. He is recognized by His sheep

Psalm 23:1 - The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Psalm 80:1 - Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who are enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth!

Isaiah 40:11 - Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.

“But perhaps His most endearing and intimate title is that of Shepherd. Centuries before the Messiah came, the Old Testament had predicted that He would shepherd His people. In Ezekiel 34:23 God said, “Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David [a reference to the Messiah, David’s descendant], and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd” (cf. 37:24). Micah prophesied that the Messiah would “arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God” (Mic. 5:4). Predicting Messiah’s death, Zechariah 13:7 says, “‘Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the man, My Associate,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ‘Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; and I will turn My hand against the little ones.’”(John MacArthur, 2006. John 1–11, p. 423. Chicago: Moody Press)

C. He calls His sheep and leads them

Jeremiah 23:1-4 - “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds,” declares the Lord. “Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply. I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.

Isaiah 56:10-11 - His watchmen are blind, all of them know nothing. All of them are mute dogs unable to bark, dreamers lying down, who love to slumber; and the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way, each one to his unjust gain, to the last one.

II. Jesus Is the Door to Eternal Life (v. 7-10)

A. In contrast to many false teachers who have come before

Matthew 7:15 - Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

B. There is only one door to salvation

John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Acts 4:12 - And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.

C. The door leads to abundant life

III. Jesus Is the Good Shepherd (v. 11-16)

A. He lays down His life for the sheep

B. He is an owner and not a hired hand

C. He knows the sheep and He knows the Father

Jeremiah 50:6 - My people have become lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray. They have made them turn aside on the mountains; they have gone along from mountain to hill and have forgotten their resting place.

D. He is drawing together one flock from various folds

IV. Jesus Is Sent by the Father (v. 17-21)

A. Based on love and obedience

John 14:15 - If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

John 21:15-17 - So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

B. With all authority over life and death

Matthew 16:24 - Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”

C. To heal the spiritually blind

Hebrews 13:20-21 - Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

As we continue with our annual theme of Enjoying Life in His name, one of the things we see over and over in the Gospel of John, is Jesus using physical situations to direct people to the spiritual realities they must wrestle with….and when you think of God becoming man, God taking on Flesh…we see the ultimate example of God revealing Himself in a way that people can know Him, and put their trust in Him…the Spiritual reality shown through the physical.

The Lord uses physical situations to direct our focus to spiritual realities.

  • Being Born again
  • Fountain of living water
  • Bread from Heaven
  • Physically blind reveals the spiritually blind.

Now we look at Shepherds…so that we can understand the Lord is the good shepherd.

This is the 3rd of 7th statements in the Gospel of John that focus on Jesus saying “I am”

  • I am the Bread of Life (6:35)
  • I am the light of the World (8:12)
  • I am the good shepherd v11
  • I am the door (v7)
  • He will say…I am the resurrection and the Life (11:25)
  • He will say I am the way, truth and the life…no one come to the father but by me (14:6)
  • He will say, I am the true vine (15:1,5)

The testimony of the Gospel of John was written so that people would believe in Christ…and these physical examples direct people to consider who Jesus is…and we rejoice when people like the blind man have their eyes opened, place their trust in Jesus, the son of man, and then worship Him.

In this section we have another example that helps us know and trust the Lord…A shepherd. You see a Shepherd protects and provides for His sheep…He leads them, they trust him….The people in the ancient near east would understand the care a good shepherd has for their sheep, and this would be a wonderful opportunity for them to consider who Jesus is and put their trust in Him.

[Consider referencing a Shepherd looks at Psalm 23]

So this morning we are looking at….

Enjoying Life in His name by following the Good Shepherd

With that in mind please turn in your bible to John chapter 10…that is on page 80 in the back section of the bible under the chair in front of you.

Read John 10:1-21

4 reasons we follow Jesus our Shepherd

The first reason is that…

Jesus is the true shepherd (v1-6)

Jesus uses the physical. What they can see, to help them understand, trust and believe what they can’t see….They see Jesus in front of them…but they must believe He is who he says He is…namely the Son of Man, the Messiah….the good shepherd.

This is …

In contrast to thieves and robbers

A sheep fold is a place to keep and protect sheep with a wall around it. The way Sheep folds worked in the ancient near east is they would have a central holding area like a courtyard…and several families would keep their sheep together.

They would hire a door keeper, an under shepherd to man the door…so when the shepherd came to get his sheep the door keeper knew him, and let him have access…

If people wanted to get to the sheep who were not legit, they had to come in another way, namely climbing over the wall.

Matthew 23 says that the scribes and pharisees have seated themselves in the seat of Moses…they have placed themselves in positions of authority, rather than being the rightful authority sent from the Lord…they have entered to get access to the sheep, and they have tied up heavy burdens on the sheep that are not from the Lord…they have devoured widows houses…they are functioning like Thieves and Robbers who do not have love and concern for the Sheep.

Jesus is saying I am legit, I am the shepherd, I have been sent from the Father, I have come in the right way…will you have eyes to see and believe I am who I say I am…

…and here is the proof…

He is recognized by His sheep

With a bunch of families sheep together, how do the shepherds gather their sheep? Well…the sheep hear his voice and respond….This confirms that he is their shepherd, because they know Him…They know His voice…

Throughout the bible, God is referred to as a Shepherd….

A passage like Psalm 23:1 comes to mind… Psalm 23:1 1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

God throughout the OT is viewed as a Shepherd….the people when they were in Egypt, were primarily Shepherds, and the Lord rescued them, and led them out of Egypt….

Psalm 80:1 - 1 Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who are enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth!

Isaiah 40:11 - 11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.

John MacArthur puts it like this…. But perhaps His most endearing and intimate title is that of Shepherd. Centuries before the Messiah came, the Old Testament had predicted that He would shepherd His people. In Ezekiel 34:23 God said, “Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David [a reference to the Messiah, David’s descendant], and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd” (cf. 37:24). Micah prophesied that the Messiah would “arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God” (Mic. 5:4). Predicting Messiah’s death, Zechariah 13:7 says, “ ‘Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the man, My Associate,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ‘Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; and I will turn My hand against the little ones.’[1]

So God is referred to as the shepherd a great deal…but how do the sheep recognize the Shepherd….

Think of the care and concern the shepherd has shown them over the years…the trekking up and down hills to find food and water….calling out to them redirecting them, guiding them away from danger, toward warmth, safety and making sure their bellies are full, their wounds are addressed.

Now, Just think about how much scripture Jesus speaks and How much he references the OT…think about a Jewish person who has heard the word of the Lord for years and Knows the History of Israel being rescued and Led out of Egypt, and Fed and protected….

What Jesus says is going to sound very familiar….If someone believes the word, believes God has revealed himself through His word, …that God created them, provided for them, rescued them from slavery, brought them to the promised land, fought for them, that God has knit them together in their mothers womb, has guided their steps, and is willing to forgive their sin through blood sacrifice and dwell with them,…that person will recognize Jesus, because Jesus is the word of God became flesh…

Everything Jesus says and all that He is and does as a Shepherd…, resonates and fulfills all that God has said about Himself in the Word for generations…and so he is recognized…and his sheep hear his voice and recognize the word of God in the flesh…

The text goes on to say …

He calls His sheep and leads them

Jesus calls His own…and he goes ahead of them, and leads them…in western sheep herding, you have a dog who drives them, and pushes them into position…but in the ancient near east, the shepherd went first, and led the way with his voice, and the Sheep followed..

They know following this shepherd, this voice leads to a good place…food, warmth, safety, love and care.

This is in contrast to other Shepherds of Israel, leaders who did not lead the people well..

Jeremiah 23:1–4 - 1 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds,” declares the Lord. 3 “Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply. 4 “I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.

The Shepherds are not caring for the flock…but they are destroying the flock….in fact they do this by greed…and by using the people for their own gain….

Isaiah 56:10–11 - 10 His watchmen are blind, All of them know nothing. All of them are mute dogs unable to bark, Dreamers lying down, who love to slumber; 11 And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding; They have all turned to their own way, Each one to his unjust gain, to the last one.

They are like Mute dogs…if a dog is good for anything it is to Bark right…well the leaders don’t even do the most basic task of caring for the people…but they are good at eating, and using the people….

Sort of like leaders who grill a blind man who was just healed about info they can use against Jesus instead of rejoicing that a man was healed. That is the kind of spiritually blind and selfish leadership Israel has had.

…and so the Lord took on flesh, to shepherd His people and is calling His people, His flock to Himself…and where He is leading is good…

You see, we also follow Jesus because …

Jesus is the door to eternal life (v7-10)

Now the Lord is using the physical imagery of Pasture…a place of food, freedom, and safety to describe the spiritual reality of life with God, the good shepherd…dwelling in His pasture.

This is…

In contrast to many false teachers who have come before

There were plenty of ‘messiahs’ that came before Jesus…people who stirred up the crowds, who sought to lead a rebellion against Rome…and many times simply lead the people to slaughter and used the people for their own gain and pursuit of power.

Jesus himself warns the people…

Matthew 7:15 - 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

In recent history, there are many leaders like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, who arose to power seeking to serve and strengthen the people, but in the end they used, fleeced, and destroyed the people…

There are so many modern day messiahs…paths and people that promise to fulfill us, protect us, and satisfy us…but only want to use us…that is why it is so important to understand that …

There is only one door to salvation

Jesus changes the metaphor as the people do not understand what he is saying…and so he shifts and refers to himself as not just the true shepherd, but the door to the sheep fold.

What he is saying is just as there is only one door and one way to go from the sheep fold to the pasture, there is only one way to heaven…and it is through Him

If there is one thing I pray you take away from this message is that Jesus is exclusive…there are not multiple ways to heaven….

There is only one way to heaven, there is only one way to life after death, there is only one door…the people would understand the physical sheep gate only has one door…and so Jesus is saying there is only one way…they must believe that Jesus is who He says He is…there is no other way.

He says it another way a bit later…

John 14:6 - 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

And also this is affirmed in Acts…

Acts 4:12 - 12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

So there is only one way, one door, one name…but that one way leads to so very much….in fact the text says…

The door leads to abundant life

The word abundant here means more than sufficient, over and above, plenty…Just as the crumbs of Jesus are more than enough, and there was more than enough bread and fish left over after the feeding of the 5000…so Jesus is saying what He provides as the good shepherd is more than enough that what we need and what we are longing for in life.

Think about what your greatest desires are from life.

You want to have a meaningful job, a fun group of friends who care and support you, a family that is devoted to one another, kids that love the Lord and are growing, a church family that you fulfill your God given mission with…satisfaction in a job well done and using your gifts and abilities in a meaningful way…you want to be stimulated intellectually, challenged to learn new things, you want to have sweet rest and enjoyable relaxation….you want to have pleasure as well as excitement….all that you want out of life….only the shepherd of your soul can provide…only he can bring you to pasture where there if life and not just a good life, but an abundant life…one where there is more than enough…where you are satisfied, because only He can satisfy you because He created you and he came to die to redeem you to Himself.

Jesus Himself is more than all your desires in life wrapped up and multiplied by a hundred…because everything good you want, can only truly come from the good shepherd….

…But we think the grass is greener on the other side…that we can lead ourselves based on our desires…that sexual immorality is true pleasure….that gossip is dramatic and exciting…that manipulation is how to get things done…that people fearing us or shouting our name is missional…and that greed and gluttony are satisfying when they never are…they always leave you wanting more, and all other false messiahs lead to death and destruction.

You see not believing who Jesus is and trusting Him as the way, the door…leads to eternal death in hell.

{Share Gospel}

Jesus is calling His sheep to follow Him…and His sheep hear His voice and trust Him to take them to pasture…whose voice, whose word do you respond to…is it your own, is it your friends, is it our cultures…or is it the word of Christ.

The text says that not only is Jesus the true shepherd, but…

Jesus is the good Shepherd (v11-16)

He is good because…

He lays down His life for the sheep

A shepherd like David, will put his life at risk to rescue a lamb from a bear or a lion…

but the text says that our good shepherd Jesus goes further…he doesn’t just put his life at risk…he actually lays it down.

John uses the term lay down his life frequently through the gospel…and the focus is on the intentional, voluntary substitutional death to save those who are His.

He does this purposefully, and the purpose is to save the sheep who are in mortal danger.

He dies instead of deserts, because …

He is an owner and not a hired hand

My parents are small business owners, and growing up I worked in the family store and did deliveries…and one thing I learned is that even when you have great employees….but if they are not owners, they will never care about it like an owner. There is simply a fundamental difference in getting a paycheck verses caring about the wellbeing and sustainability of a business…in a good way, and sometimes not a good way…as an owner you realize your life is tied to it…

An owner recognizes this responsibilities is tied to them and that they never punch out…they care more than a hired hand.

The spiritual reality is that Jesus cares about you like no other…He purchased you with His own blood…He is tied to you as an owner, and He is committed to protect and provide for you…He demonstrated that by laying down His life so that you can have abundant life.

There is an intimate love because…

He knows the sheep and He knows the Father

Jesus is not simply doing a job…he knows you intimately, he knows every hair on your head. He knows all your gifts and all your weaknesses…He know every time you honored him, and every time you sinned against him…

He knows those who are lost…

Jeremiah 50:6 6 “My people have become lost sheep; Their shepherds have led them astray. They have made them turn aside on the mountains; They have gone along from mountain to hill And have forgotten their resting place.

He know you and He cares for you and is on a rescue mission for His sheep…He is good and He wants to lead you to rest.

  • Even though he allows trials into your life, there is often innocent suffering in a sin cursed world, he is leading you not just to greener pastures, but to the green pasture…to the ultimate place of Rest

You see The relationship Jesus has with the sheep is an extension of Jesus relationship with the Father…the intimate trust and love the Father and Son have…so the son extends that love to His sheep.

That love and compassion is expressed even further when we learn….

He is drawing together one flock from various folds

We know that the Messiah is to be a blessing to all the nations…we see in revelation people from every tribe and tongue worshipping the Lamb.

Jesus was sent to the Lost sheep of Israel…that is the priority…but he has other sheep from other folds…different people groups….That is us! We see here the gentiles are indeed included in God’s plan…there are His sheep among the gentiles….We are His sheep too…which again shows the gracious plan of redemption of our God.

In fact, He is taking Jews and Gentiles and as Ephesians says, making the two into one new man, one new flock with one Shepherd. That is good news, for people no matter their background, no matter their situation Jesus is gather His sheep from all over…and that is why we share the gospel with different people groups and people from all walks of life…he has gentile sheep who also hear his voice.

Lastly, we follow Jesus because

Jesus is sent by the Father (v17-21)

To this point Jesus is communicating who He is though the shepherd metaphor…and how the sheep hear his voice and follow Him…and He combines this with the truth that He is God in the flesh, the promised Shepherd of Israel from the OT, the Messiah…

…and he proves this again by showing His relationship with the Father and that He listens to the Father and follows the Fathers plan for the Shepherd to lay down His life for the sheep…to call them, lay down His life for them, and lead them to eternal pasture.

This relationship Jesus has with the Father is….

Based on love and obedience

We are to follow Jesus, to love, trust and obey Jesus….just as Jesus has a perfect relationship of Love and obedience with the Father, so are we to enter into that relationship and our function as sheep is to be based on love and obedience.

Jesus says later in John…..

John 14:15 15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

We don’t say, I love you God, but I will not obey you…I will not listen to your voice and I will not do what you say but I consider myself your sheep.

Jesus illustrates this relational Focus with Peter after the resurrection but before Jesus ascended…

John 21:15–17 - 15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.

If you love me…then obey me…by extending that Love for my sheep…He commands Him 3 times, and connects it each time to the question if Peter loves Him…If he does…then feed them, tend them…be a good shepherd, not like the bad shepherds from the past.

As Jesus is calling His sheep…one of the ways we know we are His sheep is if we listen to His voice and follow Him and obey Him, because we believe He is the good shepherd….

A good question for everyone to ask themselves…am I His sheep…Is there evidence in my life that I follow what He says

First, Do I believe He is the messiah and He laid down His life and picked it back up so I can be saved from hell, …Do I believe Who he is…

And Then do I actually listen to Him…do I truly believe it and follow His voice…do I read His word and obey his commandments, because I trust Him, and I believe he is leading me through his word…

If you don’t listen to him and follow Him… it is very reasonable to ask if you are his sheep…and if you do not listen to the commands of Jesus laid out in the bible…you do not love and trust Him…and so the first step for you is to listen to his voice…to admit your sin, and place your faith in Who He is and What He did on the cross to pay for your sins…and then follow Him as your good shepherd.

You see we also follow Him, because he has the power to actually protect us…not just from lions and tiger and bears…oh my…by from death itself…

You see, not only is Jesus compassionate and kind…He is powerful…He can actually protect the sheep….because Jesus is sent by the father…

With all authority over life and death

He has the authority to lay down His life and pick it back up again…which means he can actually protect us…in contrast to other false Messiah, who not only kill, and destroy…they can’t truly save us from Death…but the good shepherd can.

Now if you are a believer, it is good to ask, do I connect my love for God to my everyday life where I follow Him, and obey Him leading me rather than try to go my own way and trust myself. Do you respond to correct quickly and humble and focus on following Him.

Do you see Jesus as the one with Authority…or do you want to be the one who leads themselves…The Christian life is all about following…

Matthew 16:24 - 24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

It is about trusting and following the good shepherd, because he laid down his life at the cross….and He picked it back up…and so He has the heart, the power and authority to actually Shepherd us well.

He is the True Shepherd, The Good Shepherd, The door to eternal life.

Now after Jesus says all this…the people begin to argue…they say He has a demon…that is their go to argument if they cannot explain something…you have a demon…

But others ask How can one with a demon heal people….Jesus is demonstrating that he is good, that he heals, and gives life and sacrifices for others rather than uses others…

He was sent….

To heal the spiritually blind

  1. But we know that demons destroy, that all the false messiahs of this world, are ultimately satanic…and the devil is like a roaring lion…seeking to devour…
  1. Where Jesus is the good shepherd seeking to not kill and use, but to lay down his life so that we can be saved….
  1. He is using physical metaphors to point to spiritual; realities…so that we would have eyes to see…..those who have eyes to see will by Faith trust that Jesus is the good shepherd… His sheep hear His voice and follow Him.

Just as the author of Hebrews says…

Hebrews 13:20–21 - 20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

I pray that today, if you are not saved, you will not harden your hearts, but that you will respond to his call to turn from your own self-righteousness and place your faith in Him…the Shepherd of your soul

If you have trusted Him as Lord and savior…I pray you will daily humble yourself and continue to follow Him, and by your testimony direct other to do that same.


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). John 1–11 (p. 423). Chicago: Moody Press.

Authors

Dustin Folden

Roles

Pastor of Discipleship & Extension Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.