The “I AM” Claims of Jesus, Jesus, 4, Title: The Most Comforting Claim, Text: John 10:9 and 11

Series: The “I AM” Claims of Jesus,  Jesus, 4, Title: The Most Comforting Claim, Text: John 10:9 and 11


INTRODUCTION


Jesus said, “I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” What makes this the most comforting claim? Life is filled with needs and when you think of a shepherd you immediately think of someone who is there to meet needs. Jesus meets needs, not because He has to but because he wants to. The very familiar Psalm 23 is a portrayal of this. Let’s listen to it again in the very familiar King James version that enhances its poetic beauty. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. In the Middle-east shepherds lead the flock, rest the flock, gather the flock, feed the flock when hungry and quench its thirst, heal the flock and protect the flock. When David pleads with Saul to let him go out against the Philistine giant he says to the king, your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. (I Samuel 17:6) What a protector! How would you like to have on your resume’ that you had killed these two large wild predators which were common in Israel in David’s time. However, in Bible days shepherds were not highly regarded. They could not even testify in a court. Yet God identifies Himself as a shepherd and the kings of Israel were also identified as shepherds. They cared for the flock. John 10 where this verse occurs is an extended description of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. We see here that the good shepherd protects, provides, and preserves the sheep.

I PROTECTS

In verses 1-6 Jesus uses the image of the shepherd to show how God protects. “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by 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 the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them. Of course the Pharisees did not understand because they were the strangers, and they were the thieves and robbers that stole men’s lives by their falsehoods. They did not enter by the gate because Jesus was the gate and they did not receive Him. In fact they hated Him because He was taking their blinded followers away and giving them sight. And their climbing into the sheepfold some other way was clearly their pride over the law of Moses, and their concomitant refusal to accept God’s offer of grace.

II PROVIDES

In the next section of John 10, verses 7-10, Jesus speaks of the nurture of the sheep, Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Here Jesus extends the metaphor of the gate. Being both the gate and the shepherd Jesus leads them in and out of the safety of the sheepfold and feeds them.  Here is where I need to make sure there is no confusion. Because of a difference in translations we discover that some people have proposed another “I Am”  which is “I Am the Door”. This is simply another translation of “I Am the Gate.”  Outside the sheepfold the sheep are under the shepherds protection and are led to the green pastures and still waters that  shepherd David writes about in Psalm 23. To nurture you, child of God, Jesus the Good Shepherd has given His precious Word and the comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on the day of Pentecost in a new way. The Holy Spirit was very active in the Old Testament leading God’s servants, inspiring the prophets and authors of the Holy Scriptures, and convicting sinners, but the Spirit was limited basically to Israel, and on the day of Pentecost the Spirit overflowed for the whole world, and that is precisely what we need to be born again; born anew; born of the Spirit for, if we are not, we cannot possibly understand God’s words to us. Jesus affirms this in John 3 when He tells Nicodemus, a Pharisee, that he must be born again. The gracious work of God in our salvation bringing us to new life through a new birth is always accompanied by repentance and faith in Jesus the Good Shepherd. This in turn results in our protection by the truly good Shepherd. So there is no misunderstanding, I advise you that you cannot compel being born again. This is a sovereign act of God's Spirit. Our part is repentance and faith. The new birth has occurred when we repent of our sins, and our sinful lives and believe that Jesus gracious offer to forgive is true.


III PRESERVES

In John 10:11-13 we have an explanation of how the Good Shepherd Jesus preserves the flock, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. When I was a boy my Dad used to tell me the story of the boy who cried wolf. I imagine you have heard it because it has become proverbial, but it is the story of the boy who often cried that the wolf was coming in his town. Just as often there was no wolf, and soon people didn’t believe him any more, and then, suddenly, a wolf did come and when he shouted the warning, no one would believe him because of all his deceitful cries. That scared me as a boy and strangely it should scare all of us because there are real wolves and they are emissaries of Satan out to get us. I am not making this up and its not some kind of hysteria. Jesus plainly said it in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” The apostle Paul affirmed this frequently in his epistles. For example II Timothy 1 16-19,  Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” Another warning is found in I Timothy 4:1-3 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. And again in I Timothy 6:2-5, These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. In conclusion, false prophets aren’t interested in the truth. They are only interested in leading as many astray as they can to follow them and they only want to exploit you (II Pet 2:3). They look good on the outside, just like the scribes and the Pharisees did to the people, but they are dressed in sheep’s clothing, meaning that they speak “churchianity” they look “religious” and might even appear like a true prophet but they are really “prophets for profit” or “false profits.” We have seen enough of that! And when we understand our relationship to the good Shepherd who gave His life for us, making full and complete atonement, then we can repeat Paul’s promise in Romans 8:35-39, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.