THE GOOD SHEPHERD
I. Background of the Parable
a. Jesus had just healed the blind man and the Pharisees threw him out of the synagogue, Jn 9.
b. Jesus claims to have come into the world to provide a double-sided judgment, 9:39.
c. Jesus used these parables to describe the difference between himself and the Pharisees, especially as leaders.
a. Those who heard the parables were divided over Jesus - was he demon-possessed or was he sent by God since he
could heal the blind, 10:19-21?
2. Definitions/Cultural Insights
a. Sheep pen: an open enclosure where different herds of sheep were protected overnight.
b. Shepherd: one who cares for sheep and leads the sheep, rather than drives them, 10:3.
c. Thief/Robber: a thief steals by cunning/stealth, a robber steals by threat or violence.
d “The sheep listen to his voice”: with many herds in one sheep pen, sheep would learn the voice of their shepherd
and follow only him.
e. “He calls his own sheep by name”: Palestinian shepherds had names for each sheep.
f. The hired man: the person who was paid for taking care of other people’s sheep.
II. Understanding the Parable
are described as the sheep.
2. Thieves/robbers do not enter by the gate to the sheep pen.
a. The thieves come only to slaughter for their own benefit.
b. They climb over the fence - they try to trap people cleverly through insincerity, :1.
c. They do not know the sheep - they seek not the understanding of the people or their condition.
d. They drive the sheep - through threats and violence they force people’s actions.
e. They are strangers to the sheep - they sound different from Jesus at any time, :5.
f. They seek to slaughter the sheep - they seek their own benefit, not the people’s, :10.
3. Jesus as the gate - (1st parable) through which the sheep enter to be protected, and where Jesus provides full life, :7-10.
4. Jesus as the good shepherd: knows his sheep and lays down his life for his sheep. The sheep also know him, 10:14-18.
a. Jesus has other sheep that are not in the (Jewish) sheep pen that will follow him and join the original sheep to
become one flock with one shepherd, :16.
b. He enters by the gate - he comes to people in a straight forward, genuine fashion, :2.
c. He calls the sheep by name - he knows the people personally & understands them, :3.
d. He leads the sheep - he goes ahead of the people, providing a clear example, :4.
e. He uses a familiar voice to call the sheep - he sounds the same whether then or now; :4, 14.
f. When the sheep are threatened, He will willingly lays down his life for them, :11.
III. Consideration and Application of the Parable
1. Jesus - The Perfect Leader!
Jesus presented this parable to describe the characteristics of a true leader. Jesus was and is the perfect leader.
He provided safety for the people, he knew and understood the people, he was genuine, he led by example, he
spoke consistently with God, and he was willing to lay down his life for them. Today’s preachers church leaders,
shepherds, and deacons should follow the leadership example of Jesus. Will you?
2. The Pharisees - terrible leaders
The Pharisees were blind to the fact that they were terrible leaders of God’s people, 9:41. As usual, the Pharisees
misunderstood Jesus and how to lead God’s people, 10:19-21. They were not genuine, they did not understand
the people, their voices were not similar to the actual message of God, they were only seeking their own profit/desires,
and they would abandon the people in times of danger. Jesus described them well as thieves, robbers, and hired men.
In like manner, preachers today can be terrible leaders of God’s people, having the same characteristics as Pharisees.
Will you lead like a Pharisee, or Jesus?
IV. Memory Verse - Jn 10:10