30: Reactions to the Good Shepherd

Studies in the Gospel of John

Lesson 30: “Reactions to the Good Shepherd”

John 10:11-42

 

Most people think that if they could have just have been alive when Jesus was on earth it would have been easy to believe in Him. But the testimony is that for many people for whom it was just the opposite. and John chapter 10 is one of the clearest of those passages. Jesus’ teaching about Himself in this passage is built around the illustration of a “good shepherd” and that is the basis for the outline of the chapter.

 

The Instruction about good shepherds” is in verses 1 through 6.

And then “the Identification of the good shepherd” is in verses 7 through 18

The insurrection against the good shepherd is in verses 19 through 39

And “the identification with the good shepherd” is in verses 40 through 42.

 

In our last study we looked at the first two sections of the chapter. And in verses 7 through 10 we saw “the picture of the good shepherd.” So now we pick up with “the pronouncement of the good shepherd” in verses 11 through 18. This third parable of the chapter concentrates upon Jesus as the “shepherd,” instead of “the door,” as in the former parable. The emphasis is upon the fact that He is the good shepherd who gives his very life for the sheep in verse 11.

 

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.

 

By contrast, the false shepherds, such as these Pharisees,, only want sheep for themselves and even try to harm them (as, for example, the Pharisees tried to hinder the blind man in relationship with Christ in verse 12)

 

But he who is a hireling, who does not own the sheep sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.

 

The reason is that these Pharisees do not truly care for the sheep committed to their care.

 

The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.  

 

They only teach and lead others for what they can get our of it in fame, position, money, and powere. If trouble came (such as came to Israel in 70 A.D), they cared nothing for the individuals committed to , them; it was every man for himself. To c complete the pronouncement, in verses 14 through 18, Jesus gives nine qualifications of the Good Shepherd. First, he knows who his own sheep are, in verse 14a. Second, His own sheep know Him as their own Good shepherd – verse14b. Third, the Good Shepherd knows God perfectly – verse 15b

 

AS the Father knows me, even so I know the Father,

 

Fourth, the Good Shepherd dies for the sheep.

 

 And I lay down my life for the sheep

 

Fifth, the Good Shepherd seeks Gentile sheep also. – verse 16.

 

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear my voice and, and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

 

At the cross, Jesus was demonstrated to be not only as Messiah, the Savior of the Jews, but also as the savior of the world. His death makes all believers of one fold, one flock, whether white or black, Russian or American, man or woman, educated or illiterate. Complete oneness and fellowship can be found in him and His fold.

 

Sixth, the Good Shepherd is loved by His Father – verse 17:

 

Therefore my Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again.

 

Seventh, the good Shepherd always had the resurrection in mind – verse 17

 

 Therefore my Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.”

 

Eighth, the Good Shepherd obeyed His Father’s command – verse 18:

 

No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.

 

The Lord’s obedience to His Father was the basic motive of everything He did. It is true that because of His love for us, He experienced on the cross “the wages of sin,” which sinners deserve. However, believer sometimes fail to appreciate the fact that our Lord’s sacrifice was in obedience to the Father as well. Think about the Good Shepherd’s unique poser over death as Jesus describes it in verse 18: the fact that He had divine power is shown in His personal power both to lay down His life and to take it again. No other human being has ever possessed has such power. This miracle of the resurrection of the human body of Jesus is another outstanding proof of His deity. Now we have seen “the instruction about the good shepherd” and the identity of the good shepherd, but in verses 19 through 39 we find the insurrection against the good shepherd This last emphasis on His deity produced a division among His hearers. Notice the differences of opinion in  verses 19 through 21. On the one hand, some said that He suffered delusions and His words were evil and untrue verses 19,20

 

Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings (20) and many of them said, “He has a demon and is mad.” Why do you listen to Him?”

 

But others believed that He was all that He claimed to be; the Son of God – verse 21

 

Others said, “these are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

 

They realized that the proof of the Lord’s claim to equality with God was to be seen in His wholesome, authoritative words and in His miraculous of power of doing good. And the sense of the passage is that these two opinions continued to be bandied about for the next several weeks until they finally came to a head at the Feast of Dedication. And so in verses 22 through 30 we find the discussion with the opposition.

 

First, the circumstances of the discussion are given in verses 22 and 23.  The season is mentioned first, in verse 22.

 

Now it was the feast of dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.

 

Probably this was in the back of their minds as the approached Jesus at this time. Whenever the Jews had asked Jesus who He was, He always gave them answers by which He hoped broaden their narrow conception of Messiah’s work tall the Scripture said about Him. If only the Jews had thoughtfully considered His claims, or searched the Scriptures to see if He was telling them the truth, like Peter, they would have already come to understand who He really was. However, instead of receiving His words and moving forward, they mentally stood still. So in verses 25 through 30 we find the answer that Jesus gave. First there are two different descriptions in verses 25 through 29:

 

The first is of those Jews who still refused to believe – and it is a negative denunciation. The second is of the minority who believe – and it consists of a series of positive promises to them. First lets look at the negative denunciation in verses 25 and 26

 

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe, the words that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. (26) But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I said to you.”

 

Even in the midst of the mounting tension between them, Jesus refused to give them a direct answer. He knew it would do no good, for two reasons: First, their conception of the Messiah was so shallow that it had almost nothing to do with the true, full meaning His person and work, so they weren’t prepared to hear it. Second, and more important, their rejection really stemmed from a basic refusal to recognize God’s voice in His words. This is proved by the fact that they were not even willing to believe the miracles that they had seen Him do – verse 25. Then in verse 27 through 29 we have the positive descriptions of true believers.

 

“My sheep hear my voice and I know them. and they follow ne. (28) And I know them, and they follow me and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. (29) My Father, who has given them to me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of my Fathers’ hand.”

 

After those two “descriptions” Jesus makes a declaration in verse 30  – “I and my Father are one.” At first glance this would seem like a stupendous claim. But this was not “at first glance” In verse 28 He had said that He had the power to give eternal life. then He had said that He had the power to keep those to whom He had given that eternal life. Then in verse 29 He stated that those who are in His hand are also in His father’s hand. And it is in that setting that He says that He and the Father are one. And that, of course, resulted in the denunciation of verses 31 through 39. The debate is in verses 31 through 38.

 

Then the Jews took up stones to stone Him

 

If He had not been God, this would have been just the thing to do, according to Leviticus 24:16. But as Jesus has pointed out and will continue to, He has backed up His claim with proof. And when they had their stones raised and ready to throw, He answered them in verse 32:

 

Jesus answered them, “many good works I have shown you from My Father, For which of those good works do you stone me?”

 

And the Jews had an answer:

 

(33) The Jews answered Him saying, “for a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a man make yourself God.”

 

The crux of the question was whether Jesus was, as they said, “a man” who was “making Himself God.” But of course the testimony of scripture is just the opposite – see Philippians 2:6) for example. And that is still the crux of the matter today: was Jesus God or man.?” In fact, in I and II John this is given as the

Test of a false teacher. But Jesus comes back with to them with an Old Testament passage of His own in verses 34 through 36.

 

(34) Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, “I said, “You are gods”? (36) “If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the scripture cannot be broken) “do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming.’ Because I said, “I am the Son of God”?

 

The argument here is a little complex, but very appropriate: In Psalm 82:6, God said that unjust judges were a disgrace because they were “in the place of God” to the people. So in that that context He called them “gods” because he had appointed them to do the work of “judging” for Him who is the true judge. “So,” Jesus says, If god calls mere men “gods,” why is it blasphemy for me, who have demonstrated clearly that I have the power of God, to call myself God?”

 

Then, in case they couldn’t understand His argument from scripture, in verses 37 and 38, He makes another appeal to the miracles which He has done:

 

37) “If I do no do the works of My Father, do not believe m; (38) “but if I do, though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in Him.”

 

This is a beginning point for belief. If these men would have simply believed what they had seen, they would have been able to extend that faith to things unseen. By the way, this is another passage which tells us that miracles are not an indication of strong faith – in fact, the opposite is true. After the resurrection Jesus told Thomas, “blessed are those who have not seen but have believed.”

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