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.
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?