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The passage we’re looking at this week is John 10. If you want to grab the full study, you can find it here.

Passage Big Idea

Jesus promise to those who follow him is life as it is meant to be – full, satisfying, in intimate personal relationship with God.

Passage Structure

10:1-6 – The shepherd: A unique relationship
10:7-10 – The door: A unique purpose
10:11-13 – Good shepherds Vs. Bad Shepherds
10:14-18 – The shepherd, the sheep & the Father
10:19-21 – Result: More division

Some things to look out for

Some random thoughts/facts/ideas

– This is not an entirely new thought here. Jesus is following on from the issues & discussion of John 9, particularly the distinction between those who recognise Jesus (like the blind man), and those who don’t (like the Pharisees).
– So the Pharisees here are in Jesus direct line of fire. They should have been good under-shepherds for God’s people (see OT background below), instead they have been destroying the flock and leading them towards death.
– Again Jesus teaching causes division (v.19-21). On the one hand people reject, on the other people don’t reject outright…but are still noncommittal.

Old Testament Background

– God as chief shepherd: Gen 48:15, 49:24; Ps 23:1, 28:9, 77:20, 78:52, 80:1; Isa 40:11; Jer 31:10; Ezek 34:11-31
– Israel as the sheep of his pasture: Ps 74:1; 78:52; 79:13; 95:7; 100:3; Ezek 34:31
– Psalm 118:20 – “This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter”. This Psalm is quoted again by John in John 12:13.
– Unfaithful shepherds – Jeremiah 23:1-4, Ezekiel 34, Zechariah 11:4-17
– Ezekiel 32 – Condemnation of Israel’s leaders who look after themselves, not the flock.
– God’s people outside Israel – Isaiah 56:8

Some possible areas of application

– Jesus is building a picture of intimacy between himself and his people. He doesn’t just know about them collectively, he knows them personally, individually, personally. Do you feel that?
– In the strains and struggles of life, it’s often hard to know whether God actually cares for us. Jesus makes it clear here that the way we know he’s a ‘good shepherd’ and not an ambivalent / malicious / capricious one (contra a hired hand) is that he lays down his life for us. This is the ultimate expression of love and sacrifice for his people.
– Sometimes it’s easy to spot those who are false under-shepherds (like the Pharisees). But it’s not always so blatant. How would you know from this passage the difference between a true under-shepherd and a hired hand?