Of the many images painted by John in his
wonderful gospel, the most descriptive is probably
that of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Like
a shepherd, Jesus is concerned with the welfare
and care of His sheep. Jesus delivered this
sermon right after He healed the blind man at
the temple, and He clearly declared His identity
and plainly stated His purposes and plans. He
revealed His great love for sinners and His plan
for dealing with their sins.
I. HE POSSESSED THE RIGHT CREDENTIALS
A. He came properly (verses 1-3a). Jesus
used the imagery of the sheepfold to illustrate
His message. A sheepfold is a circular wall
about 10 feet tall with a single opening that
served as a door. Jesus told His audience that
only thieves and robbers would seek to enter
the sheepfold by a means other than the door.
The shepherd, however, always comes in the
Jesus proved that He was and is the shepherd of the sheep because He came into the world in the right manner. He entered according to plan. He presented His credentials to His people. Notice the proof that He came in the right way:
1. He was born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:21-23)
2. He was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matt. 2:4-6)
3. He came in the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4)
4. He had been brought out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1; Matt. 2:14, 15)
5. His arrival had provoked the rage of the
enemy (Jer. 31:15; Matt. 2:16-18)
He was the right person, born in the right
place, arriving at the right time, summoned from
the right country, and attended by the right sign.
He possessed all the credentials necessary to
prove that He was the Good Shepherd (Luke
4:18, 19; Isa. 61:1, 2). When Jesus came with
the right credentials, John the Baptist openly
introduced Him to the nation and declared His
identity (John 1:29).
B. He calls properly. Several flocks can
share the same sheepfold; however, when the
shepherd of the sheep walks up to the door and
calls his sheep, they instantly recognize his
voice and respond to him. They know his call.
So it is with lost souls. There are many voices that compete for our attention in this
world, but there is a special note to the voice
of the Lord. When He calls, everything changes
(John 6:44). Lost sinners are dead until they
are awakened by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:1). He
is the only one that can give us hope.
C. He commands properly (verses 4, 5).
When the shepherd calls forth his sheep, he
goes before them, and they instinctively follow.
He doesn’t have to drive them—that is for
goats! He just leads them out, and they follow
What a truth! When souls are saved by the
grace of God, they have a desire to follow the
Good Shepherd. They have been called out by
the Shepherd and have a burning desire to worship
Him (2 Cor. 5:17).
II. HE POSSESSES THE RIGHT CHARACTER
A. His personality (verses 6-18). In these
verses, Jesus reveals His identity as “the door.”
Remember, there was only one opening going
into or out of the sheepfold. It was in this
opening that the shepherd slept. Therefore,
the shepherd himself became the door of the
sheepfold. Nothing could enter or exit the fold
without going through the shepherd himself.
If anyone desires entrance into the fold of
God, there is only one door. That door is Jesus!
He is the only way to God (Eph. 2:18; John
14:6; Acts 4:12). Jesus is the only way to the
Father. Any other way leads to death and damnation
(Matt. 7:13, 14).
B. His performance (verse 9a). Jesus plainly tells His listeners that He alone is the door to God’s eternal salvation. His promise to those who enter is that they will be saved. That is, they will be rescued from the strongholds of the enemy and will experience the fullness of God’s perfect salvation.
C. His promise (verses 9b-10). The thief
is a threat to the sheep. When a thief enters the
fold, his primary purpose is to use the sheep for
his own personal gain. He doesn’t care about
their welfare. The Good Shepherd, on the other
hand, comes so that the sheep might experience
a life that is immeasurably better. He cares
about the sheep and promises them a new and
III. HE POSSESSES THE RIGHT CONCERN
A. His concern is proven by His sacrifice (verses 11-13). Jesus explains the difference
between the concerned shepherd and the hireling.
The hireling is there only for a paycheck.
When trouble comes, he runs away and leaves
the sheep to be devoured by wolves. The
shepherd, on the other hand, owns the sheep
and has a vested interest in their welfare. He is
willing to pay any price to protect his sheep,
even if it means he has to give his life for them.
Jesus endured a terrible death on behalf
of sinners. Through this sacrifice for His
sheep, He deserves the title Good Shepherd!
B. His concern is proven by His sheep
(verse 14). Jesus speaks of the bond that exists
between the shepherd and his sheep. They
know him and will not follow another, and the
shepherd knows his sheep. May I remind
you that the Good Shepherd also knows His
sheep? He knows everything there is to know
about you (Matt. 6:8; 10:29-31). He knows
every strength and every weakness. He knows
every joy and every burden. He knows every
mountain and every valley. He knows every
victory and every battle, and He stands ready
to help you in your time of need (Heb. 4:15,
C. He proves His concern by His salvation
(verses 15, 16). Jesus makes it plain that
other sheep will come along later. These sheep
can be assured of being saved just like those
who were there to hear Jesus speak. Therefore,
anyone who needs salvation can rest
assured that Jesus will provide that salvation
when faith is placed in Him (John 1:12).
When faith is placed in Jesus Christ, salvation
is always the result. This salvation is
complete (Heb. 7:25). All who respond to Him
in faith will be brought into the flock and will be
saved (Acts 16:31).
There is no question that Jesus is the
Good Shepherd. But one question remains: Do
you know the Shepherd? How you answer that
question determines where you can expect to
spend eternity. If you know the Shepherd and
follow Him, you can rejoice in the fact that He
will always be with you and will always watch
over you. If you do not know Him, I invite you
to come to Him right now. He will give you a
new life and a new birth.