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JOHN - The Light Shines in the Darkness
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to John
PART 2 - Light Shines in the Darkness (John 5:1 - 11:54)
C - Jesus' Last Journey to Jerusalem (John 7:1 - 11:54) The Parting of Darkness and Light
3. Jesus the Good Shepherd (John 10:1–39)

c) Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11–21)

JOHN 10:11-13
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who doesn’t own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep, and flees. The wolf snatches the sheep, and scatters them. 13 The hired hand flees because he is a hired hand, and doesn’t care for the sheep.

God bore patiently with kings, false prophets and priests who cheated and looked on His scattered people as sheep without a shepherd. So He sent us Christ as the Good Shepherd. On arrival he said, "Here I am ready, the true King, the High Priest, and the Prophet with a final revelation." In Christ’s person we find all the functions of shepherding combined. He can rightly say, "Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." I shall not exploit you, but rescue you from a misguided life and from every peril.

The proof that he is the only Good Shepherd was his willingness from the start to lay down his life for his sheep. He did not just say that he would lay down his body, but offered body, soul and spirit for the salvation of God’s flock. He toiled from the first moment in serving his followers. His physical death was the crown of a self-giving life. Remember that Jesus did not live only for himself or die for this. He lived and died for you.

Faithless shepherds are found out because in the hour of danger they flee and hide themselves, caring only for themselves. They abandon the sheep to the wolves who are bound to appear. They are not beasts but act in beastly fashion; their father is Satan. As the primal wolf, Satan’s aim is to devour. His attacks are vicious, persecuting and killing. He turns up with pleasing temptations and white lies. We pastors must not tolerate or ignore false teaching using love as a pretext. But for the sake of love we must defend the truth wisely and robustly if need be. Christ’s life tells us that he was constantly in conflict with infernal spirits. With love he spoke the full truth to his servants that they may serve the flock with effort and defend it in the face of attacks from satanic spirits. The aim of the ravenous wolf is clear, for by false charges and severe persecution he wishes to destroy God’s church. Are you seeking service and honor in God’s flock? Note that this will mean conflict, suffering, and sacrifice, and does not ensue in gain or pleasure, let alone rest.

JOHN 10:14-15
14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and I’m known by my own; 15 even as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep.

Christ repeated the claim that he was the unique Shepherd. We all fail and are unable to minister as we should since we do not fully know the enemy, and we do not fully understand the mentality of the sheep or how to lead them to the best pastures. Christ knows every individual by name, and perceives his past, his thoughts and his future.

Jesus chose his own sheep and granted them the gift of knowing him personally. As they get to know him better, they wonder why he never rejected them. His very presence shows up their failings. This encounter produces a greater love, moving into thankfulness and an eternal covenant or bond.

This mutual knowledge between Jesus and his flock is not superficial or worldly, but is a gift of the Spirit, because we realize him as he sees the Father and as the Father knows the Son. This is a mystery, that every Christian, by the descent of the Spirit receives the revelation of truth in divine knowledge through Christ. It also means that God’s Spirit dwells in His flock and fills them. No one is ignored.

JOHN 10:16
16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice. They will become one flock with one shepherd.

Christ did not die for any particular race, but for all. Not only did he save the stubborn of the Old Covenant, but also the corrupt folk among the nations. He foretold that his death would redeem sheep in numbers from all over the world. None could come to God of his own accord; they needed a guide, a Good Shepherd. This was to be Christ. He is personally the potentate of nations and individuals. His spiritual guidance takes place by his word. As the sheep recognize the voice of their own shepherd, so also everywhere people prepared hear Christ’s voice, and are quickly converted. From the elect of the Old Covenant and the converts among the nations a new spiritual union emerged under Christ’s leadership. The people of the New Testament are today God’s flock with Jesus as our Shepherd. All who hear the Gospel with joy and believe in Christ, God’s Son, belong to the true church, even if they join different denominations. We have one Spirit, one Lord, one Father. This Spirit comes on all the cleansed by Christ’s blood. The unity of Christ’s fold is greater than we imagine, gathering sheep from every corner. The Good Shepherd comes in person to lead his faithful and simple followers to glory. Then there will be one fold and one shepherd. But whoever tries today to create a church by ways and systems that are human and aims that are worldly will be in danger of falling into the traps of the great wolf, who tries to draw the attention of the flock from her shepherd to itself. However, we cannot draw close to one another, unless we draw nearer to Christ.

JOHN 10:17-18
17 Therefore the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down by myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. I received this commandment from my Father.”

We believe God is love who always loved His Son. For Jesus constantly did what pleased his Father. Now we read what truly pleases God; it is only the cross. The death of Christ was the purpose determined by God. There is no other way to save the flock from sin, but by the atonement and her sanctification through the blood of the Lamb.

The death and resurrection of Jesus are great miracles; he told us he would die in order to live. He did not offer himself under compulsion, but spontaneously, because he desired the redemption of sinners. He is true love. His Father committed to him authority to save the world, and the authority to take that life again. No one was able to prevent the completion of Christ’s victory on the cross. The devil and his followers attempted to foil his redemptive act; but this malicious being failed before Christ’s mighty love. It was neither Caiaphas, nor Pilate, nor any other who impelled him to die; it was he who resolved to die. He did not flee at the sight of the wolf approaching him, but he offered himself to save us. This was God’s perfect will. Jesus won the conflict between heaven and hell on the cross. From that day on His flock have the assurance sealed by the blood of the Lamb. Jesus leads us through crises and afflictions to his glory.

JOHN 10:19-21
19 Therefore a division arose again among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane! Why do you listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the sayings of one possessed by a demon. It isn’t possible for a demon to open the eyes of the blind, is it?”

Those spies sent by the Jewish leaders were furious to hear Jesus describing the authorities among the Jews as robbers and agents of Satan; as well as his claim to be the Good Shepherd, and especially the Shepherd for all nations – a matter regarded as wicked by the Jews. They saw themselves as the elect of God. They called him demon-possessed and mad and were disgusted by him. Most of the bystanders agreed with this accusation. The populace were turning against Jesus, since his heavenly teachings were beyond their grasp.

Yet some of his listeners had the courage to witness publicly that they were hearing God’s voice in Jesus’ words. His words were not empty thoughts, but filled with power and creative. He had forgiven the sins of the blind man. The hostility against Jesus grew among the multitude while his love took root in some sincere folk. Jesus leads and led his flock at all times in the Spirit calmly to the certain goal.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, Shepherd of the sheep, you did not reject the stubborn sheep, but sought them till you found them, and laid down your life for them. Forgive us our sins. Thank you for granting us the Spirit of knowledge, so that we may know you, as you know the Father. You know our names and do not forget us. You tend us along with all your followers. Choose from among the nations, those who will listen and unite them. Keep them from the devouring wolf.


  1. How does Jesus become the Good Shepherd?


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