Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: John's Gospel Studies|
Chapter: John 10
Passage: John 10:1-6
A. Find Out:
1. Who is a thief and a robber? v.1
2. Who is the shepherd? v.2
3. What does the watchman do and then the shepherd do? v.3
4. What does the shepherd then do and why do they follow? v.4
5. Why won't the sheep follow a stranger? v.5
6. How did the people there respond to Jesus? v.6
Jesus uses an illustration that would be very familiar in those days. At night sheep were penned in and a guard was placed over them. When morning came the shepherd came and the guard opened the door for him and the shepherd called his sheep out and then led them off to new pasture.
The first thing that was shown was the shepherd's access to the pen, through the doorway, because he was known to the night keeper; anyone else would have to climb in some other way. Jesus doesn't explain what he means so we have to judge for ourselves. Is the pen the world, where the sheep are at night, in darkness. At the appropriate time the shepherd, Jesus, comes and calls his sheep, and those who are destined for eternal life, recognise the voice and come out in response.
The key thing in this illustration was the relationship that the shepherd had with the sheep. It was because they knew him and knew his voice that they came out of the pen and then followed him. We who are Christians responded to his voice when he called us to salvation, and now we follow him as we follow his voice. That most of the listening people didn't understand Jesus indicates they were not his sheep.
1. If we heard his voice and “came out” we are his sheep.
2. We “follow him” by hearing his voice going ahead.
A. Find Out:
1. What did Jesus say he was? v.7
2. Who came before him? v.8a
3. What effect did they have? v.8b
4. What will happen to the person who comes in via Jesus? v.9
5. Why did the thief come? v.10a
6. Why had Jesus come? v.10b
Having just used a general picture, Jesus now starts giving more detailed applications, making them personal to himself. He starts with the gate or door to the sheepfold. Previously he had used the sheepfold as a picture of the world and that people would come out of it when he called them.
Now he is going in the opposite direction and we must infer that the fold he now speaks of is the place of encounter and security, in the knowledge of God, because people have to go into it through Jesus. In fact you can only get into this place by going through Jesus and when you do go in you will be saved or made safe for eternity. But more than that, he promises them life in its fullness and it is a life of freedom, of coming and going in the security of God, into the place of close intimacy and then out into the world where there is still beautiful provision from God (pasture).
Yet in this whole thing there are numerous references to thieves and robbers who came before Jesus. They are those who would claim to be leaders of God's people, who claimed to have a way to intimacy with God, but in fact they are merely out for themselves and they take away real life and not bring it. Only Jesus the one who can bring us into the place of real and full life with God.
1. Jesus alone is the way into the presence of God. Worship him.
2. Jesus alone is the provider of pasture for us today. Thank him.
A. Find Out:
1. Who did Jesus say he was and what does he do? v.11
2. What are we told about the “hired hand” and his effects? v.12,13
3. What more does Jesus tell us about the shepherd? v.14
4. What similarity does he give as an example? v.15a
5. What does he repeat that he will do? v.15b
6. What else will he do? v.16
From saying he is the door or gate, Jesus now goes on to say that he is the Good Shepherd, and in that he tells us a number of things.
First, he is putting himself alongside his Father with this “I AM” saying, for the shepherd in the Old Testament was God Himself. There is a strong hidden claim here.
Second, he twice says he will lay down his life for the sheep. This is not merely a general statement of commitment of the shepherd to protect his sheep, but is in fact a statement of what was going to happen.
Third, he contrasts himself with a “hired hand”, who might be seen to be the religious leaders of the day who were appointed to look after the sheep, but as there was no sense of ownership by them, they were in fact more concerned for their own welfare than that of the sheep.
Fourth, he tells us that he has more sheep than just those of the flock of Israel; Jesus was also concerned for Gentiles as well, who were to be brought in also.
Fifth, there is also a picture of intimacy between Jesus and his sheep (followers), which he says is to be the same as that between himself and his Father.
Jesus here owns us, knows us, protects and provides for us, even to the very giving of his life.
1. Jesus is THE Shepherd, who owns us, cares for us and provides for us,
and even gave his life to purchase us. Worship him.
2. Do we care for one another in a similar way?
A. Find Out:
1. Why did Jesus say the Father loved him? v.17
2. How and why did Jesus say he did this? v.18
3. How were these words received? v.19
4. What did one part of the crowd say about Jesus? v.20
5. What did another part of the crowd say and why? v.21
Jesus has just made reference to his Father (v.15) and so it natural for him to continue speaking about Him. He says two significant things about his Father: first that his Father loves him because of his obedience and second that he does what he does because his Father has told him to. The first thing should probably be taken to mean that “this is one of the reasons the Father loves me” or “this is the reason the Father expresses His love for me”. God expressed His love for Jesus by verifying his ministry (Acts 2:22) because that would lead on to the planned climax, his death and resurrection. Yet again we see that everything Jesus does is within the plan and purpose of God, and that he himself is sure of that!
We should also note the effect Jesus' words had upon the Jews who were listening. Some responded negatively and some positively to what he had just said. Jesus' words always have this effect, for they reveal the hearts of the listeners. When Jesus speaks no one remains neutral, they are either for him or against him, there is no in between.
Lessons? Do we know that we are called in the same way was Jesus was? Do we have the same clarity of purpose, and same intent to fulfil it? When Jesus speaks do we respond positively or negatively?
1. Jesus did his Father's will perfectly to redeem us. Worship him.
2. Do we seek to fulfil God's declared will for our lives in the same way with
the same assurance?
A. Find Out:
1. When and where did this occur? v.22,23
2. What were the Jews asking of Jesus? v.24
3. What did Jesus reply? v.25
4. Why were they unable to believe? v.26
5. What did Jesus say his sheep did? v.27
6. What did he further say about his sheep? v.28
In these few verses we see some very significant things. First, the Jews come to Jesus and almost seek to provoke him to declare himself, as if they really want him to be their Messiah. It is as if they are saying, if you are the Messiah we will follow you, if you are the deliverer of Israel we'll come with you.
Second, note how Jesus responds: he cuttingly points out that he has already provided sufficient for them to believe in him, but they have refused to believe, and so putting a title to him won't help. The crucial issue, he says, is whether or not people are his “sheep” and they clearly are not! Those who are Jesus' sheep hear what he says, know his voice for what it is and simply follow him. Something in his sheep tells them that this is the shepherd to be followed. As a result of turning to Jesus, he gives them eternal life and this life cannot be taken from them, it makes them secure. They can jump out of his hand but no one else can take them out of it; there is complete security for those who follow Jesus.
The implication of all this is simply that we need to tell people about Jesus, and those who are destined to be his sheep will hear and respond, because they will know that they are hearing the voice of their shepherd calling them.
1. Jesus' sheep know his voice - and therefore will follow him.
2. We are to speak his words, and his sheep will be revealed.
A. Find Out:
1. Who had given the sheep to Jesus? v.29a
2. What did he reiterate about the security of the sheep? v.29b
3. What did he say about himself and the Father? v.30
4. How did the Jews respond to that? v.31
5. How did Jesus defend himself? v.32
6. Why did they say they were acting like that? v.33
Jesus has just said that his sheep are secure in his hand and then goes on to say that they are also secure in the hand of His Father who is greater than anyone or anything else. There is therefore, no doubt that he is referring to God for no one else could match that description.
Then comes an amazing claim: I and the Father are one. Now liberal theologians try to play this down by saying he meant one in the sense of unity of purpose and desire, but the Jews clearly deny that line of thinking. They were quite clear that Jesus was claiming to be God! This is one of Jesus' most clear claims and the response of the Jews is equally clear: this is blasphemy and he desires to die!
It is interesting that Jesus provokes them into this declaration, almost as if he wants us, the onlookers, to be quite clear as to what he said. In an almost innocent way he asks why performing a few miracles should provoke them to stone him. It is then that they make this incredible indictment: “you... claim to be God”. Yes, absolutely, and it's simply because he IS God in the flesh. He had been saying it in guarded pictures, but now it is blatantly out in the open. Let us be under no illusion who Jesus is: he is God!
1. Jesus is God, and he therefore demands our worship.
2. Jesus is the Son, just one expression of the Godhead, but still God!
A. Find Out:
1. To what did Jesus appeal? v.34
2. What did he say about Scripture? v.35
3. How does Jesus describe himself? v.36a
4. What did Jesus ask them to believe and why? v.37,38
5. How did they respond but where did Jesus go? v.39,40
6. What happened there? v.41,42
They were just about to stone Jesus when he appeals to Scripture. Look in Psalm 82, he says, it talks about people as “gods” so why shouldn't I refer to myself in this way. An interesting use of Scripture! At least it makes them pause, so he continues: if God has set me apart for what I am doing, this should especially qualify me to call myself Son of God. Only believe if I do the things God would do, so look at the miracles I do and believe because of them, not because of what I say. Then again he openly declares that he is one with the Father, and again they try to seize him. In all this we have a delicate balance of Jesus speaking the truth as to who he actually is, while at the same time providing just sufficient for the Jews to hold back from actually killing him, for the time for that is not yet right.
When Jesus departs from Jerusalem a number follow him because they remember what John had said about him. There is a constant tension among the people, wanting to believe and wanting not to believe. They were not certain about Jesus as they reasoned it out; it was only the “heart people” who followed him, those stirred in their hearts. The “logical people” were uncertain, and it is like that so often when God moves.
In this last group of 7 studies we have seen Jesus :
This is a chapter of increasingly obvious claims by Jesus: that HE is the means of entry into God's fold, that HE is the owner of the sheep, that HE is bringer of eternal life, that HE is one with the Father in heaven. It is understandable that there are mixed reactions to him. His words clearly stir many towards belief, but many others reject him outright as a blasphemer and try to stone him. When Jesus speaks about himself, as a listener you are challenged. He leaves you no room for neutrality; you either accept his claims or you reject them. There is no room for middle ground with Jesus.
1. Jesus alone is the way into God's presence
2. Jesus is the one who cares and provides for us
3. Jesus laid down his life; it wasn't taken from him
4. Jesus is the only one who brings eternal life
5. Jesus gives us plenty of reasons to believe in him
6. Jesus leaves us no room for sitting on the fence about him.
Declare afresh today your allegiance to Jesus. Thank him that he has brought you into his fold, that he now cares for you, provides for you and protects you. Thank him that he has given you eternal life and that when you die you have a guarantee of going to be with him. Thank, praise and worship him for all these things!
SECTION SUMMARY - John 7 to 10
In these four chapters of John's Gospel we have seen:
1. Jesus in Galilee
2. Jesus going to Jerusalem to the Feast of Tabernacles
3. Jesus in Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication
CONCLUSION - John 7 to 10
As we come to the end of this set of Studies in John, the following are perhaps some of the things we should hold onto:
1. Jesus' Mastery over every Situation
Again and again in these chapters, we have seen Jesus in complete control of each situation. First of all there was his refusal to be coerced into going up to the Feast of Tabernacles by his brothers, but going in his own time. Then in masterly fashion at the ceremony of pouring out water, he proclaims loudly that he was the giver of the water of life. Then comes the tricky case of the adulterous woman, brought by the authorities to catch him out. Instead he speaks in such a way that each one retreats in the face of the truth. Later there is the healing of the blind man, in such a way as to allow the man to become one of Jesus' best witnesses. And of course, again and again when the authorities question him his words leave them hanging. He says just sufficient in every case to keep them thinking and talking, and yet not quite enough to push them to take final action against him. At least twice it came to the point of them going to stone him, but even then it did not quite come to it. We see in these chapters, Jesus playing the crowds and the authorities with his words. He is gradually working them towards the climax of his death - but not quite yet!
2. The Growing Opposition
As we have already observed above, Jesus words were having a growing effect upon the people. For the ordinary people with nothing to prove, he appeared as the potential messiah. For the religious Jews and the religious authorities, he came as a clear threat to everything their closed minds believed in. With every further teaching he gave them more and more ammunition to confirm their already fixed thinking: this man is a blasphemer who, if he is left to carry on, will be a threat to the very fabric of our society.
What has been our reaction to Jesus as we have read? John is a very deep Gospel, not always easy to understand. Have we managed to catch the wonder of the claims of Jesus? If not, read these chapters again and worship the one who is revealed here - the Lord!