10 January 2017

BSF 2016-2017: John 10:1-42

Welcome back to our study of John! Before our Christmas break, we saw Jesus heal a man who was blind from birth. Chapter 10 is a continuation of that story.

In this chapter, Jesus used the picture of a shepherd and his sheep to explain how His sheep recognize His voice, how He knows His sheep by name, how His sheep follow His voice, how He leads His sheep, and how He keeps His sheep secure for all eternity. Jesus used this illustration because the Jews and the Pharisees would have understood what it meant to be a shepherd and what it meant to shepherd animals or people.

The first sheepfold (10:1-6) would have been common in a Jewish village. Multiple herds were in this sheepfold. The gatekeeper could have been a hired person who watched over all of the sheep. When each shepherd came to gather his sheep, he would speak to gather his sheep (who knew his voice). The gatekeeper opened the gate for the shepherd to gather his sheep. An unfamiliar voice sent the sheep running, but a familiar voice brought the sheep to the shepherd.

Anyone who entered the sheepfold by another way was a thief and a robber. This described the Pharisees because they were stealing God’s people with deceit and violence.

The second sheepfold (10:7-10) would have been in an open field. It was a pen built with large stones and a small opening. The sheep in here would have belonged to one shepherd living in the open country. The shepherd lay on the ground at the opening and became the gate. He protected his sheep in the pen. Jesus is the gate. He is the only way to get to the Father.

Next Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd. In this context, “good” means “model;” Jesus is the model shepherd.

Jesus said that He owns His sheep. He takes care of His sheep because He loves them. He protects them from danger. He knows the sheep. He knows their names, their natures, and their needs.

Sheep are unintelligent, defenseless, in need of the care of a shepherd, prone to wander, must be searched for and brought back, peaceful, and useful for the shepherd. The shepherd used his staff to collected lost and wounded sheep. He used his rod to fight off enemies, not to beat or punish the sheep.

Jesus mentioned “other sheep” to be brought into the “one flock” under the “one shepherd.” The other sheep are Gentiles, the one flock is the Church, and the one shepherd is Jesus.

Jesus explained that He had the authority to lay down His life and take it up again. No one can take His life from Him. Jesus promised to lay down His life for His sheep, and He gives us eternal life in the future and abundant life now.

About two and a half months later, Jesus was in the temple courts. The Jews demand that Jesus plainly tell them who He is. He said that His works and miracles testify to His identity. He said they did not believe Him because they are not His sheep.

Jesus explained how to identify His sheep – they listen to His voice, they are known personally and fully by Him, they follow Him, and they have eternal life. His sheep are never snatched out of His hand.

The Jews again wanted to kill Jesus and picked up stones to stone Him. They said they wanted to kill Him because He was blaspheming – calling Himself God. Jesus responded with Scripture. He asked them to believe His works even if they ignore His words. This would have helped them see that God the Father sent Him.

Jesus escaped arrest. He went across the Jordan river to John the Baptist’s followers. Many of John’s followers believed in Jesus because of John’s testimony.

Things to Think About
  • We are loved by our Maker, kept by our Savior, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
  • Jesus knows His people fully and loves them unconditionally.
  • Jesus lays down His life to provide eternal life for His people.
  • Believers are eternally secure in Jesus Christ.

This Week’s Memory Verse
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15 NIV