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Sunday, November 11, 2018

posted Nov 11, 2018, 8:25 PM by Site Administrator

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I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD

 

John 10:11-21

Key Verse 10:11

 

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

 

First,The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (11-13). In the previous passage, we saw Jesus proclaiming himself as the shepherd; only he is the shepherd for the sheep. Now in todays passage, Jesus shows what kind of shepherd he is: the good shepherd. Look at verses 11 through 13. Lets read these verses together:

 

11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 

 

As the shepherd and the sheep enjoy really good time together in the open field, from time to time they face a very difficult challenge; wolves that approach the sheep. It is really horrible for the sheep to see a wolf coming toward them growling to kill and destroy them. It is also scary for the shepherd to see such a ferocious beast coming at the sheep, exposing its long sharp teeth and dripping saliva from its mouth. Even if the wolf sees the shepherd, a human being, it has no fear, for the desire to fill its stomach with the sheep is so great. When we face a big unchained dog on the street, we are scared. When the dog approaches us growling with an angry face, we are freaked out. Yet, what the shepherd faces is not a dog, but a wolf whose eyes shine with a beasts ice-cold glare and with complete determination to attack. At that time, the shepherd has only two choices – either confront the wolf and fight with it or run away leaving the sheep behind. Who runs away? A hired hand! There are two kinds of shepherds – a hired hand who tends others sheep for money and the owner tending his sheep by himself. The purpose of the hired hand in tending the sheep is not the sheep but the wages. To him, the sheep are nothing but the means for him to get what he truly desires - salary - money. So, when the wolf comes, he has no reason to risk his life for the sheep. In order to save his life, he is more than willing to sell the sheep. So, he runs away, and might possibly report to the owner of the sheep that there was no other choice for him. 

 

Who then is the one that stands and fights against the wolves? It is the shepherd of the sheep - he is the owner of the sheep who knows them personally. Even though he knows that he may be killed, he cannot simply run away and let the wolf kill the sheep because the sheep are his. He knows each of them – Lucky, Mooshy, Lionheart, and many more. The shepherd and the sheep have enjoyed such fun times together, and they have gotten to know each other very well. When he called, Lucky,then, among the 1,000 sheep, one sheep responded happily saying, Baaeeee!, came to him, and greeted him each morning. When he saw his sheep responding to his voice and following him wholeheartedly, he was happy and proud of them. They were not mere animals to him anymore, but rather they were his precious sheep like his sons or daughters. Should he abandon his precious sheep merely because of the threat of danger, or because of the possibility of injury or damage? No way! Even if he knows that he can be injured terribly by the wolf, he cannot desert them. Therefore, when he sees the wolf coming toward the sheep, he grabs his shepherds staff and draws his battle line up against the wolf by staring at it intently. He is ready to fight. Although the wolf is determined to attack and fill its stomach with the sheep, the shepherd is more determined to fight as a matter of life and death, and his fighting spirit overwhelms the wolf. He is the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. Under his care, the sheep feel secure and safe. They trust their shepherd, love him, and follow him wherever he goes. 

 

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” This is Jesus proclamation, showing who he is, and how much he is willing to do for the well being and safety of people under him. Under the care of this good shepherdall his sheep can enjoy a beautiful life. They are blessed. This life in the world comes with a lot of challenges and difficulties, painful moments and sorrows. When things do not go well, when we lose our precious things, we feel like crying in sorrows. When we fail miserably in our school work, when no one seems to remember our birthdays or be concerned of us, we feel like we are all alone in this life, and it seems that lifes challenges are too much for us to bear. Sometimes, we feel like giving up. But Jesus, our Redeemer says to us, I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.It is like Jesus saying to us, You are not alone. I am with you, and I will protect you. Or it is like Jesus saying to us, Dont worry. I will make sure your safety, and you will enjoy a beautiful life. For our safety and well-being, Jesus is willing to lay down his life. The expression, he lays down his life for the sheep shows that Jesus is willing to do anything and everything to secure our safety and well-being. Sometimes, he intervenes into human society to help us. Sometimes, Jesus leaves his heavenly throne, and makes his visit to our small prayer room where we cry in sorrow and despair, and says, Dont worry. I am with you! Jesus says to you today, I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. When we remember that Jesus our good shepherd fights for us even to the point of laying down his life, we are comforted and strengthened to go forward courageously. 

 

In the previous passage, Jesus divides all spiritual leaders into two categories – shepherds and thieves or robbers. Now in this passage, he divides all spiritual leaders into two categories again – good shepherds and hired hands. There are so many bad shepherds, who are nothing but hired hands according to Jesusexpression. They care nothing for the sheepWe live as shepherds for Gods flock. Then, for us, there are only two ways to go – either we are good shepherds or we are hired hands. When we think about this, we can see that there is actually only one way to go, that is, we live as good shepherds who lay down our life for the sheep. We must not be hired hands who work for wages such as money, or positions and titles, or our own ambition. Instead, we must do it because of Jesus alone: We know his love for us, and he wants us to take care of his sheep out of love for him, so we live as shepherds. All peoples on earth live for themselves, but we shepherds do not live for ourselves, but we live for others, Jesus sheep.

 

Second, I know my sheep and my sheep know me (14-15). Look at verse 14. Lets read this verse together:

 

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me- 

 

Jesus says that he is the good shepherd for the sheep because he knows his sheep. Here, knowing does not mean to have some knowledge or information, as we have knowledge about Billy Graham through the TV or newspaper. Rather, this knowing is real and personal. Who can say to us, I know you,Even our parents do not know us; even husband does not know his wife really. No one knows us; no one understands us. Sometimes, we cry and cry for an unsolvable problem. Then, our shepherd says to us, Why do you keep crying? Just brush it off! There, we are very hurt – even our own shepherds do not understand us. After becoming a shepherd, I thought about my mothers life, and could see that she had lived a very sorrowful life; I really felt her pains and sorrows. So, wanting to comfort her, I said to her, Mom, I understand your sorrows. Then, with such a serious look, she looked at me directly and said, How can you possibly understand my sorrows? I was embarrassed, because she was really right. How could I understand her sorrows that had been piled up and buried in her heart over and over for the past 40 or 50 years? Indeed, no one knows us.

 

But now Jesus proclaims, I know my sheep. How can he say to us, I know you? How can he say, Roberto, I know you. Johnny, I know youWhen we think about how he entered into our life, how he gave us his words personally, we can really see that he knew us. How could he give us those perfects words that unlocked all the doors in our hearts? To some of us, he gave us just two words: Follow me. To some of us, just three words: Father, forgive them. To some of us, just four words: Stay in this land. To some of us, just five words: Son, your sins are forgiven. To some of us, just one whole verse. At his words, everything became clear; we were so touched that all the barriers that had been built up in us such as fear, shame, sorrows, anger, mistrust, sinful desires, worldly desires and addictions all melted that we could turn to God decisively and we began to live for Him, leaving everything behind. He could do so only because he really knew us. How does he know us so much like that? He knows us because he has been with us in everything we went through; he knows us because he was there while we were crying and crying sensing the pains and sorrows we hadHe has watched us all this time. When we think about this, we realize that we have never been alone, but together with him. We have never been abandoned, because he was there with us all the time. At the same time, his proclamation, I know my sheep, shows his deep concern and interest in us. We were not nobody to him; instead, we were very precious in his eyes that he was deeply concerned about us and thereby, he paid attention to us. Indeed, when he says to us, I know you, it is the evidence of his deep love for us. Today, Jesus proclaims to you, I know you. Jesus has loved you all this time; he has been with you, being concerned about your life, protecting you and guiding you.  

 

Jesus says, I know my sheep and my sheep know me.Here the expression, my sheep know me, shows the sheeps deep interest in Jesus and concern for him. If only the shepherd knows the sheep, but the sheep do not know the shepherd, then, the shepherd-and-sheep relationship cannot be established, because no matter what the shepherd says and does, the sheep do not care, and they do not respond. This shepherd and sheep relationship must be mutual, then, it becomes beautiful. As the shepherd knows the sheep, the sheep also know the shepherd. Jesus sheep know what kind of person their shepherd Jesus is, what he likes and dislikes; they know his style; they pay attention to his will and purpose. 

 

Jesus knows us. And now it is our turn to know him, our shepherd. Usually, in our relationship with God, we were the ones who asked God for help - give me this and that; help me, bless me. The whole focus has been me - my feelings, my condition, my happiness and my desires,... But now the expression, my sheep know me, helps us turn our concern from ourselves to our Shepherd Jesus - what kind of person he is, what he wants, and how we can please him; what is his business. Indeed, Jesus was the good sheep of his shepherd, because his whole concern was about his Shepherds name, his Shepherds kingdom and his Shepherds will - he lived for his Shepherd. When we come to know our Shepherd, we realize that suddenly everything changes - how we perceive things, how we live and what we pursue; we no longer laugh and weep based on our own things, but we laugh and weep based on things of God; we really begin to live for Jesus - for His name, his kingdom and his will. Good sheep of Jesus graduate from this human world and live as children of God, living for God’s will and purpose. Jesus sheep know him. This is our desire; this is our struggle – I want to know Christ.

 

Look at verse 15. just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. Here, Jesus compares his relationship with his sheep to his relationship with his Father. Simply, he describes God the Father as his Shepherd and himself as His sheep. God the Father and the Son Jesus knew each other. They loved each other. Jesus knew his Shepherds desire - redeem the lost mankind, and how it could be done - through a ransom sacrifice for the sin of the mankind. Knowing this will and plan of his Shepherd, Jesus came into the world as a tiny baby to fulfill it; when God saw His sheepobedience and sacrifice, He was happy with him and sent his angels to celebrate his birth, and they sang a song of praise saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. (Lk 2:14) When Jesus received the baptism to start his messianic ministry, God was pleased and said to him from heaven, You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased. Their relationship was not one-sided, but mutual. Jesus loved the Father and obeyed His command wholeheartedly, and the Father was with him all the time. Jesus was a good sheep to his Shepherd. In the same way, when we are good sheep to our good shepherd Jesus knowing him, loving him, and following him, then, we too can grow up as good shepherds in his image. Good sheep grow to be good shepherd.

 

Third, One flock and one shepherd (16-21). Look at verse 16. Lets read this verse together:

 

16I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 

 

Here, other sheep that are not of this sheep pen refer to those who are looking for the truth among the Gentiles - they dont know God yet; they are not followers of Jesus yet. But Jesus vision is to bring them to himself also. They too will listen to his voice. Jesus says, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The expression, one flock shows that in Jesus there is no distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles - they are simply identified and described as Jesus sheep. There is no distinction between the white people, the black people, and the yellow people - no Europeans and no Hispanics and even no gender; in Jesus, all of them are called, Christians believers.They are one. This is an amazing secret of Gods plan for all people on earth in Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul realized this secret and shouts in Ephesians 1:9And he (God) made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ. What was Gods secret plan, which He purposed in Christ? Paul says in Ephesians 2:14,15, For he (Jesus) himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,… This is Gods secret plan he purposed in Christ Jesus. When you go to heaven, you will not see any American, any Chinese, any White people, or Black people or Yellow People; you will not see any Republican or any Democrat, but only Jesus sheep. The world is divided; nowadays, nationalism is gaining great momentum in every country; politics is a very sensitive matter. Whenever people insist their own national view or political view, there comes barriers, conflicts, and enmity; there comes anger and hatred. This is Satans work. Gods purpose in Jesus Christ is todemolish all these barriers and make them one people – Gods people who share the same godly value system and the same godly perspectives and hopes; they can communicate with each other freely. Jesus says, There shall be one flock and one shepherd. For this, we go out and look for new sheep. For this, we go out even to all nations and struggle to make them disciples of Jesus Christ. Then, they will do the same thing in Jesus. Lets live for this purpose as Jesus good sheep. Lets bring those who are not of this sheep pen so that they too may become Jesus sheep.

 

The expression, one shepherd, shows that eventually, only Jesus will be recognized as the Shepherd. People will no longer look for the truth through Buddhism. People will no longer expect to go to heaven through Mohamed. All these religions and philosophies will be gone completely in the world, and no one will talk about them at all. Only Jesus will be recognized as the Savior. Only he will be praised and honored. There shall be one flock and one shepherd. This is the vision Jesus had, and this is the vision we have and this is the ultimate goal of our mission - we would evangelize the whole world with the gospel of Jesus Christ and bring them to the obedience to his teachings and his will. All other kingdoms and religions and isms will be destroyed, but Jesus kingdom will never end; instead, it will grow bigger and bigger and fill the whole earth.   

 

Look at verses 17 and 18. Lets read these verses together:

 

17The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life-- only to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.

 

People think that God the Father loves the Son Jesus naturally. It may be right. But Jesus here shows that actually, there was a reason, and the reason was he laid down his life.The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life.When he says, I lay down my life, he shows that his death was not the result of bad luck, or the result of the religious leadersjealousy and plot, but out of his own choice; he intentionally arranged all things and died on the cross. Why did he do so? He did so because it was his Fathers command. He accepted and obeyed even this kind of command; he obeyed his Fathers command this much. This shows his wholehearted love and submission to his Shepherd. When his sheep obeyed and followed him this much, how did his Shepherd feel? How would you feel if your sheep loves you and follows you wholeheartedly like this? Of course, you will be really pleased with him. Then, to you, your sheep is no ordinary. Your heart will go to your sheep and love your sheep so dearly; indeed, you will do whatever your sheep needs. Thats how the Father felt - so honored and loved; thats how the Father saw his sheep Jesus and loved him. The Father his shepherd truly understood how much his sheep did for him, how much his sheep loved him; the Father his shepherd truly appreciated what he did. Thats what the shepherd and sheep relationship is about.

 

When we think about this passage, we can see that the shepherd and sheep relationship is not one directional. Often, people think that the shepherd and sheep relationship is one directional. The shepherd does all the things, pouring out his time and energy, sacrificing everything for the sheep year after year, and the sheep taking everything for granted. But it should be mutual, then, it becomes really beautiful. Lets pray that all the shepherds may be good shepherds. Lets also pray that all our sheep may be good sheep.

 

Also, when we think about how God responded to Jesus’ obedience, we can see that God appreciates what we do for him. When we sacrifice something precious for Gods purpose, He does not take it for granted. Even if, it was something we must do as his creatures, when we do sacrifice it for Gods purpose, God understands how difficult it was for us to do so and He truly appreciates what we do for Him. God counts everything we do for Him. God loves such people who love Him and obey His commands. God says, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Let’s be good sheep to our shepherd Jesus. Let’s be good to even our human shepherds. Then, we will be really loved by all.

 

In todays passage, we heard Jesus proclamation, I am the good shepherd. He is the good shepherd because he lays down his life for us. He is the good shepherd because he knows us. He is the good shepherd because he was the good sheep to his Shepherd. When we become his good sheep, loving him and following him faithfully, then, we too will grow as the good shepherds. Let’s be good sheep to Jesus our Shepherd. Let’s be good sheep to our human shepherds too. Then, we will grow as good shepherds for God’s flock.

 

One Word: Jesus Is The Good Shepherd

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