Reading the Gospel of John (12)

Reading the Gospel of John (12)                                                                                                     Day Twelve

The Good Shepherd (John 10)

 This chapter is the most important teaching of the Bible on Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Before beginning your study of Jesus as the Shepherd, it would be good to read through some of the Old and New Testament passages about the shepherd.

Scriptures Related to John chapter 10

Read the following passages and makes notes on the content.

Psalm 23:1-6

Psalm 78:52-55 — The Lord was the Shepherd who led His people through the Red Sea. The Lord then gave them shepherds to lead them.

Psalm 77:20 and Psalm 78:70-72

Jeremiah 23:1-8

Ezekiel 34:1-31 — Notice in verses 11-16 some things that God will do as Shepherd, and you will discover some things we as human shepherds should do.

Zechariah 11:4-17 — Notice in verse 16 the 4 things the false shepherds do not do; reverse these, and you will discover 4 things a shepherd should do.

Micah 4:6-8

1 Peter 5:1-4

Hebrews 13:20-21 — This is one of the greatest benedictions in Scripture. Ask the Shepherd to speak to you how He wishes to work in you, and how He wishes to equip you to be His shepherd for others.

The Feast of Dedication

 Jesus made this claim to be the Good Shepherd during the Feast of Dedication. This feast was held each year to celebrate the rededication of the Temple after it was cleansed and restored by Judas Maccabaeus. (Daniel 7 describes the desecration of the Temple.) During this feast they read from Ezekiel 34 where God displays His anger at the “shepherds” of His flock. The title shepherd was given to the religious and political leaders of Israel.

Remember that as Jesus speaks these words, the Jewish leaders, who are the current false shepherds, are listening to Him speak. Also present and listening carefully are the common people, the poor, abused and sick sheep of God’s fold. But the people are blinded by the deception of their leaders. Jewish patriotism was very high at this time, and people were eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come. But to come as a shepherd . . .?

Leadership Models

The Bible speaks of leaders in many ways. In the Church there are teachers, encouragers, prophets, evangelists, pastors and other leadership functions. But the two models of leadership that God wants for His Church are servant and shepherd. Isaiah expresses the servant model most clearly in his teaching of the Suffering Servant. But the “face” of the servant is seen as a shepherd. God is searching today for servants and shepherds to lead His Church in these turbulent yet exciting times. Jesus came to earth not just as the leader of the Jewish nation, but as the leader of the whole world. Today He is searching for leaders — servant shepherds — who will walk with Him.

Two “I AM” Statements

Notice the two “I AM” statements in verses 7 and 11.

What is Jesus claiming for Himself in these statements?

I AM the Door of the Sheep (John 10:7)

Jesus is the Way into the Kingdom of God. John 14:6 is clear, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Jesus is the one who determines who enters His Kingdom.

 The sheep go in and out of the door, following their shepherd. What is the special relationship between Jesus and His sheep, as told in John 10:4-6?

See also John 10:27.

Can all Christians know and hear God’s voice? Is there a method (or methods) that one must learn in order to hear God’s voice? Why do you think many Christians struggle over the problem of “hearing God’s voice?” Are they taught to struggle by false shepherds?

What is the secret of hearing Jesus speak to us? What is the greatest requirement?

What is the promise to those who enter the sheepfold by Jesus, the Door of the sheep? See John 10:3-4, 9-10, 15, 28-29. As you read through these verses and this chapter, make a list of the promises you receive by entering into the “Door of Life” through Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

I AM the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)

 Jesus came to earth as the Good Shepherd, the Servant Leader.

Read through John 10 once again, and at the same time read through Psalm 23. Write a brief confession of what it means that Jesus is the Good Shepherd, both for you and for the whole world; consider sharing this with others with whom you study and also with others around you who are anxiously waiting for a shepherd.

The Larger Sheepfold (John 10:16)

 Jesus tells us in John 10:16 that He has other sheep “that are not of this fold.” See Ezekiel 34:11-13, Isaiah 56:8, Matthew 8:11-12, Ephesians 1:7-10 and Ephesians 2:13-18.

[A cross-reference Bible is one of the greatest tools for Bible study. Remember that Scripture interprets Scripture.]

What have you learned from reading these other Scripture passages about Jesus’ sheep “who are not of this fold?”

Describe the “Universal Church.” What does this tell you about how we must become shepherds (“under-shepherds” of the Great Shepherd) not only for those nearby but also for the whole world?

Consider again the meaning of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Spend some time thinking about your own mission in life.

Jesus prepares for His final clash with the Jewish leaders. (John 10:30-42)

Jesus’ statement in John 10:30 – I and the Father are one — caused the Jews to immediately try to stone Him. Jesus is ready to make His final clash with the Jewish religious establishment. He now goes back across the Jordan River to the place where John had baptized Him.

At the same time His enemies were seeking to kill Him, many people continued to come to Jesus, and many believed in Him. They said, John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true! (John 10:41)

Before Jesus makes His final onslaught on evil, He goes back to rededicate Himself to the mission on which He set out at His baptism. His enemies are more viciously opposing Him, but His believers continue to increase.

Could we not say the same thing today, that Jesus’ enemies are increasing their attacks, but His believers and followers are increasing day by day?

Do we not all have to “start over” now and then, to rekindle our initial commitment and recapture our original enthusiasm? Perhaps this study of the Gospel of John can be a “new beginning” for all of us.

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