Jesus is the good Shepherd

Pastor Troy Singleton

Have you ever tried to reach someone to explain something, and for whatever reason, they never seem to get what you’re saying? 

You tried everything. You tried for days, weeks, and months to speak to them and let them know that their understanding of something is wrong and what yours is right. It is plain to see for everyone to understand, but they just don’t get it for whatever reason. 

That is the kind of what Jesus is going through at this moment. We are picking up in Chapter ten, which Pastor Jeff preached a month ago the first part of Chapter nine, and he preached on the man who was healed. He was born blind, and Jesus gave him his sight back. 

We are looking at Chapter ten, where Jesus is doing most of the speaking. Out of 21 verses, Jesus has spoken 17 times. So up until now, he did some things here and there, but he is going in on these Jewish leaders and the religious leaders at this time about what their understanding is, of what he wants them to grasp. 

The big idea today is Jesus is the good shepherd. Jesus is the good shepherd during World War One. 

Jesus is the good Shepherd

Some soldiers came upon some sheep on the hillside near Jerusalem, so they decided they would take these sheep. They corral all these sheep up and try to force them to follow. The shepherd fell asleep and woke up seeing his sheep being herded off by soldiers, and he was helpless. He could do nothing because the soldiers had guns, and he was left on the hillside by himself. 

Learn the voice of the Good Shepherd 

But he remembered he knew his sheep, and his sheep knew his voice. So he called out to the sheep, and the sheep immediately turned around in the shepherd’s voice and went back to the shepherd. The soldiers were trying to stop these sheep from going back to the shepherd, but there was nothing they could do because the sheep had heard the shepherd’s voice and were going back to safety. 

They know they found safety in the shepherd’s voice, so that’s where they went, and they know they were hearing a strange voice that was forcing them to leave the hillside but as soon as the shepherd spoke and they heard his voice, they ran to the shepherd’s voice. 

John 10:1-6 “Truly I tell you, anyone who doesn’t enter the sheep pen by the gate but climbs in some other way is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don’t know the voice of strangers.” Jesus gave them this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.

Jesus is trying to tell these Jewish leaders in us that you have to learn the good shepherd’s voice. 

In the first part of John Chapter 10, Jesus said, “I tell you anyone who doesn’t enter the sheep pen by the gate but climbs in some other way is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out when he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them, the sheep follow him because they know his voice, they will never follow a stranger; instead, they will run away from him because they don’t know the voice of strangers. Jesus gave them this figure of speech but they did not understand what he was telling them.” 

Suppose you’re wondering why Jesus is talking about sheep to many spiritual leaders and politicians in the old testament. Political leaders were considered sheep. You can look at Isaiah 56:11, and Jeremiah 3 and 15 will give you those details. But I noticed from the story that Jesus identified the thief and the robber right at the beginning of the scripture. He talks about those who would reach over the gate to take the sheep. He did this for a reason because he was talking to these Jewish leaders, pretty much telling them that’s what they’re doing. They are gaining access to the sheep for multiple reasons. We are familiar with personal and political connections, manipulation, and corruption for many reasons. 

That’s how some of these leaders got their position. They were considered shepherds, but they were illegitimate leaders and shepherds because of how they gained access.

The scripture talks about the door, there’s only one door, and the gatekeeper stands at the door to gain access to the shepherds to allow their sheep in for the night. So multiple shepherds will bring their sheep in and be looked at for multiple reasons.

The gatekeeper would examine them as the sheep come in, and as they go out, the gatekeeper would pay attention to the sheep and identify who is there. But those are the true shepherds, and the true shepherds are coming legitimate, those are the ones that come in by way of Jesus Christ, those are the ones that come in the right way, those that have love in their heart, compassion for other people and have a heart and passion for leading God’s people in their sheep. 

God intended His people to be led, fed, and protected by those who come in the right way. The door was there to give them access to the sheepfold, but one day a traveler came upon a group of sheep, and he, wanted to travel a lot like us. We want to ride horseback and do certain things. 

So this traveler wanted to play the role of a shepherd. He said, “Hey, let’s change clothes. I put on the shepherd’s clothes, you put on the traveler’s clothes, and I’ll lead your sheep for the period.” So they changed clothes, and the traveler who had the shepherd’s clothes on tried to herd the sheep to go where he wanted them to go. Of course, he was going to bring him back. But it was something about the shepherd that the sheep didn’t want to follow. So he had a hard time with the sheep. You can put on shepherd’s clothes, but you still can’t lead the sheep because she listened to the true shepherd’s voice. 

You have many people putting on shepherd’s clothes trying to lead sheep, trying to lead God’s people, instead it’s religious leaders and politicians, but they don’t have a heart for the people. God is saying through listening to his voice; you can lead.

The Good Shepherd protects His Sheep 

You see, in verse six that the leaders didn’t understand what Jesus was saying. So. beginning in chapter six, Jesus goes and tells him again. A good shepherd protects his sheep. Look at what Jesus says to the people, truly, I tell you I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand since he is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep leaves them and runs away when he sees a wolf coming, the wolf then snatches and scatters them. This happens because he is a hired hand and doesn’t care about the sheep. 

In this text, Jesus says that he is the gate. He is the door in other verses and what he’s saying is if you are going to be saved, you have to come in through him. “There’s no other way you have to come in through the door, and I am the door, I am the gate. You have to come in through me.” 

John 10:7-13 Jesus said again, “Truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, since he is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep, leaves them and runs away when he sees a wolf coming. The wolf then snatches and scatters them. This happens because he is a hired hand and doesn’t care about the sheep.

If a young man looks to date someone’s daughter and they come through the house and he’s seen a dual-parent home who’s standing at the door, who you think is opening the door, he’s standing at the door, he’s at the gate, and that guy can do this all he wants, but he cannot gain access to her unless he gets through the door. It’s the same way we have to gain access through the door. 

Now somebody looks at the service sermon and thinks that I’m judging preachers, I’m not doing that, Jesus is. He is pointing out their flaw. He’s pointing out that they are fake. He’s pointing out that they are phony, but he’s using the story of the sheep and the shepherd to make his point clear. This is a wonderful point, and he’s saying that peace and safety will follow you when you go in and out because of the shepherd. 

Some scriptures let us know that God watches over us when we go in and out. In Deuteronomy 28:6, Moses is speaking to the people of Israel who are passing through the wilderness. You got to think they were 400 years of slavery, and they believe they are just out there on their own. 

Deuteronomy 28:6 tells them, you will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. Now, if someone is walking through the wilderness during that period, not only is that assuring, through his words, I could also see God in the pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of cloud by night watching over me. 

So I’m like, who? He’s protecting us. He’s our safety blanket. So they do not only hear these words. They have seen the evidence that Jesus is protecting them, but let’s move on for those who are thinking, that’s when stuff is going a little good. 

Jeremiah was still coming in and going out among the people, for they had not yet put him in prison in the book Jeremiah. The Israelites were taken captive by the Babylonians. Most of the people were put in prison. But Jeremiah was allowed to go in and out, but he was going in and out under the protection of God, who protected him in a time where he was surrounded by the enemy and those of us that the enemy has surrounded. There’s a sense of assurance to know that you are still being protected even though you’re in the lion’s den, and that’s what Jeremiah faced. 

Let me give you another and this one is you’re all familiar with. A lot of people bible scholars know Psalm 121:1 a lot of us know it for verse one, which is I would lift my eyes to the hills and the mountains. Where will my help come from? But if you look at verse eight, it reads the Lord with God, you’re going out and you’re coming in from this time forth and forever. God is a protector. 

But the life of a shepherd wasn’t an easy job. They were out in the weather. So they were in the rain, they were in the snow, they were in the heat. Anything that nature chose that morning, that day, the shepherds were there and of course, knowing sheep like we know sheep, they tend to wander off from time to time so that shepherd couldn’t take his eyes off the sheep. 

He had to go herd some in and put them in the fold to get them back, and he had to protect them from predators. But when you have hired hands, taking care of the sheep when they see a wolf coming, they run because, “these aren’t my sheep, these aren’t my people. So danger comes, I’m going to ditch them. So I’m just going to leave out.”

In the course of religious leaders, when the time comes, they will manipulate the people to make decisions that they want to happen and once that decision has been made and they no longer need the people, they push them to the side and keep doing what they’re doing. So that is what he was saying to them in that aspect. And we know that if you strike the shepherd the sheep will scatter. 

One of my many patrols in Afghanistan, one that I would never forget, was that we were headed east going to another town. But for whatever reason, we started getting receiving gunfire from the south. We, of course, returned fire, and I started maneuvering my platoon in that area. The closer I got, I noticed this man in the middle of this gunfight just walking from my left to my right, he had a herd of sheep, and he would just walk in like it was a bright sunny day, like nothing was going on. Gunfire and chaos, that’s all I’m hearing and all he could hear. But he was walking, didn’t pick up his pace or anything, and I’m just still kind of maneuvering at the same time, my eyes on the shepherd who is in the middle of this firefight, and he’s not doing anything to get out of the way anytime soon. So it got to a point after a couple of minutes of him just casually walking through, and you’re not going to believe what I said on the radio. I said, do not shoot the sheep. I didn’t say anything about the shepherd. Even though I wasn’t a shepherd, never was a shepherd. I don’t have any idea how to identify one sheep from another. My mind went to caring for his sheep in the same way that he was caring for his sheep, and he was protecting his sheep because he realized if I panic, if I run my sheep, we’re going to scatter. So the best thing for me to do to get my sheep out of this area of danger is to remain calm. The guy didn’t look; I never saw him look in my direction or the direction of the enemy gunfire. He just kept where he was looking, and he got his sheep out of harm’s way.

A Good Shepherd knows his sheep. 

The third point is the good shepherd knows his sheep, by now we know this is a major part. I am the gate, the door and I am the good shepherd is what he’s trying to tell these folks, I know my own and my own know me just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, I lay down my life for the sheep, but I have other sheep that are not from the sheep pen. 

What verse 16 is saying is, you will be shouting for joy right now because what he’s saying in that is up until this point, he was talking about the Jews verse 16 when he’s talking about other sheep pens, he’s talking about us gentiles. So he said I got other sheep, so I got to go to the other sheep pen, I got to get these sheep and bring them to be a part of this flock. 


John 10:14-18 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me, just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep. But I have other sheep that are not from this sheep pen; I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. Then there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life so that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”

This is why the Father loves me because I lay down my life so that I may take it up again, no one takes it from me. But I lay it down on my own, I have the right to lay it down and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from the Lord. I’m a Christian from my father. If you’re another underling, I will underline command because a lot of us are in charge or a supervisor, it does not matter if you’re in charge of one person or you are a housewife and you’re at home you are commanding those kids. We learned that we can give coworkers and subordinates commands. But they have to listen. They have to do what we ask them to do. I’ve led many soldiers, some obeyed my command, some didn’t. But in this case, when Jesus is talking about him dying on the cross, him going on the cross, he’s saying no one takes it. I lay it down and the father has given me a command that I can raise it up again. There are some other known shepherds that the Jewish leaders in this text know about, they know about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David. So they know about these five. But what if I tell you Jesus is the most well-known shepherd in the old testament?

Psalm 23:1says “The Lord is my shepherd.”

Psalm 77:20 “You lead your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” 

Psalm 100:3 says, “Acknowledge that the Lord is God. He made us, and we are his, — his people, the sheep of his pasture.”

So in the course of knowing that and knowing who God is, God knows us individually. He knows our personality, he knows our habits and things of that nature. If you were to look at the text and you will see the man who a person, he saw some of God believers casting out demons and they were like, man, we can’t do this. And he went and tried to cast out the demon in someone and the demon said Paul, I know and Jesus, I know, but who are you. So the shepherd knows our names and there’s no one in here that has an animal that they haven’t named. No one buys a dog and names it “dog”. The shepherd named his sheep and he calls them by name. A devoted pastor as the under-shepherd will demonstrate the qualities of the good shepherd. He will do this by his sacrifice, knowing and being known by the flock. And we can never demonstrate the characteristics the same way that Jesus can, but we can continue to try to imitate what he was doing and what he left us to do through the help of the holy spirit. 

Another thing with a fold, what a shepherd would do with his sheep if say just like dogs, some of them don’t get along. So you can’t put all of them in the same room when you leave the house. The shepherd will separate the sheep based on their needs and at 2 Cities Church, the way we separate the fold is through life groups. We have many life groups that do many different things. We are a part of two cities, you’re still part of the flock, but we have different folds within the flock. 

We have different leaders who cater to people, we have groups that cater to women, we have groups that cater to servicemen, we have different groups that do a lot of things all over Columbus and online and that’s how we, as a church mirrors what Jesus is saying in the text when he’s saying that they are different folds within the flocks and we did a good job. 

I think having different folds, having different life groups just about every day of the week to reach the lost and save them. I would introduce them to Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to come within them, through their acceptance of him. But Jesus’ unique relationship wouldn’t be possible if he didn’t have a close connection to the Father. Yeah, but we can do our part here through the help of the Holy Spirit, to grow our relationship with him through scripture through prayer and the life that we live by showing him that we care, showing him that we love, and mirroring what he’s saying in his texts. 

Don’t be tone-deaf sheep

The final point is don’t be tone-deaf sheep. The Jews were divided because of these words, many of them were saying he has a demon and he’s crazy. Why do you listen to him? Others were saying these aren’t the words of someone who is demon-possessed, can a demon open the eyes of the blind? 

John 19-21 Again the Jews were divided because of these words. Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and he’s crazy. Why do you listen to him?” Others were saying, “These aren’t the words of someone who is demon-possessed. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

We see Jesus stopped talking to allow those who were in earshot of what he was saying to accept or deny. On one side they had one group that didn’t want to believe Jesus and still thought he was a liar. And the other side says, how can a demon open the eyes of a blind and through reading the text. I came to the conclusion, a lot of people, want God, but they don’t want his son, they want the father, but they don’t want to have anything to do with the son. They just want to bypass the son and just want to worship God. You had those that rejected Jesus for what he was doing because he did on the Sabbath day, never mind the fact that he did a miracle. Never mind the fact that only God can give sight to a person born blind. He didn’t become blind. He was born blind. And yet they still couldn’t see that because they didn’t want to believe Jesus, but they still wanted to worship God. 

This just proves the fact that the miracle opening the eyes of the man born blind can only be validated with faith in the word of God and actions through Jesus Christ. So you have faith in action in work to perform a miracle to save a person that was born blind and you’ve seen this happen, you’re seeing God at work and yet you still deny his existence. Jesus just kind of let them debate on their own because at that point it was nothing else for him to say. He gave the examples, he did the miracle, he spoke on some other things and yet these folks were still lost, still non-believing.