daily Broadcast

The Good Shepherd, Part 1

From the series Jesus Is...

A good coach or mentor is someone who gives helpful advice, good direction, and sound correction when necessary. Maybe you’ve had a person like that in your life. In this program, Chip Ingram explains that in the Bible, that person would be called a shepherd. So, as we continue our series Jesus Is, we’ll learn how Christ is our Good Shepherd, as Chip describes what that means from John chapter 10.

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Message Transcript

If you go ahead and pull out some notes, and at the very top it says there are two question that how you answer them will determine the course of your life. And the question number one is how you see God and the second question is how do you think He sees you?

And as you kind of make your way to those notes and maybe pull out a pen if you have it. And if you have your Bible with you, you can open to John 10. If you have your phone you can open to John 10.

But as you get started, I was thinking, I’ve been wrestling with some things. You know, like we all have, like, deep in your soul and sometimes you get confused and you think it through, you pray it through.

And then this was one where I just couldn’t land. And I’ve been wrestling with it for quite a while and as I was praying I thought, You know, I think I’m going to call someone that I’ve known for forty years that has been a loyal friend. And what has always characterized his life is he has always had my back and he has always been very, very gracious. But other than my wife, no one has spoken the truth mostly in love like Steve Clifford.

And so, on Monday I just texted him and said, “Hey, Steve, I’m wrestling with something and I can’t get my arms around it. I just can’t figure it out. Give me a call when you have time.” Thirty seconds, the phone rings, we talked for about forty-five minutes or an hour. And when I’m done, he listened very compassionately.

And what I realized was the reason that I called him was I have a view of him that I knew that he wouldn’t blow smoke, he would be very compassionate. I wasn’t even shocked that within thirty seconds he responded, because he loves me.

Now, the reason I share that is because we all have stuff, right? We all have confusion. And God wants you to know that if you would come to Him, His response is compassion.

Tozer’s words that I love, he says, “What comes into our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” And I think that’s because whatever your picture of God is, you’ll either be drawn to Him or feel like you’re completely unacceptable and you’ll move away from Him.

And so, then, the second question is how do you think God sees you? Jesus came to answer that. And you’ll notice I put a passage in Matthew chapter 9 and Jesus had been doing ministry, He had opened the eyes of a blind person, He had loved people, He had fed people. And He came and He saw the multitudes, He saw a large, large crowd of just the mass of humanity. And it said He was filled with compassion for them.

And then in your notes it says, “Because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd.” Put a circle in your notes around the word compassion. The word is splagchna. It means to come from the bowels. It’s like you experiencing something where you so hurt for another person, you so identify with them, you just feel compelled, “I’ve got to help them.” This isn’t sympathy; this isn’t, “Oh, that’s bad.” This is something that happens down in the heart of God that He sees you in your hurt and your fear and your anxiety and your struggles and your uncertainty and your depression and all your struggles and all your issues.

And what it does is it draws Him to you. When you’re distressed, stressed out, uncertain, afraid. Literally, God’s heart is drawn to you because not only does He see us as distressed, but downcast. It’s a shepherding term. And if a sheep rolls a little bit too much on its back, it’s called cast. And a cast sheep cannot get up by itself. If a shepherd doesn’t come and roll it over, it will die right there.

And Jesus saw the multitudes then and He sees us now. And He knows simply left to ourselves there are seasons and times and hurts and pains and betrayals and struggles and addictions that we’ll get cast and unless the shepherd, unless we get help, we are going to shrivel up and die, first in our soul, then our emotions, then our relationships, and then forever.

And so, Jesus, speaking to a group of people that lived in a very different world than us, a very agrarian culture, wants to speak in their language so He could communicate with them His compassion and His concern. And the answer is He uses the sheep and the shepherd metaphor.

We pick it up in chapter 10. “Verily, I say to you, Pharisees, anyone who doesn’t enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs up by some other was, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he has brought them out to his own, he goes ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they don’t recognize a stranger’s voice.”

Now get this, “Jesus used this figure of speech,” or this parable, “but the Pharisees did not understand what He was telling them.” And so, He’s going to explain, verses 7 through 10.

“Therefore Jesus said to them, “Verily, verily,” or, “truly, truly.” In Hebrew when you want to say, you don’t say, “Good, better, best.” You would say, “Good, good,” or you would say, “Good, good, good.” You repeat the word in order to get someone’s attention to say, “This is a really important point.”

“Verily, verily, I tell you, I am the gate,” or, “the door for the sheep. All who [have] come before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.” And then this was the climax, “I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved,” delivered, rescued. And He is speaking of eternally rescued, forgiven, becoming a part of God’s family.

And then He talks about those who come in and go out and find pasture. They will be the ones who are loved by Me. And then He goes on and talks about the thief comes to kill and to destroy and to rob, “but I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.”

And so, He says: I’m a good shepherd. I want to help you. I want to deliver you. I want you to have someone that you can call on anytime. I am here for you just like a shepherd of sheep.

And for them, that would just be so clear, because they have lived in that world and they know a shepherd doesn’t drive his sheep, he leads them. A shepherd protects; a shepherd provides.

Now, notice he’s going to say now he’s the good shepherd and the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. In fact, we are going to see in verse 15 that He actually will give His life as a substitute for ours.

Pick it up in verse 11, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and doesn’t own 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. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know me – just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father – and I lay down My life,” and you might circle in your Bible, “I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen and I must bring them also,” speaking of the Gentiles.

“They too will listen to My voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. And the reason My Father loves Me is,” are you getting a little repetition here? “I lay down My life – only to take it up again. No 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.”

And so, in your notes, I made three observations out of this passage.

The first is He offers his life for us. In Greek there are two little words for the word for – F-O-R. One means on behalf of. You know, I’m going to do this for you. The other means I’m going to do this in your place and for your behalf. Jesus would later say in Mark chapter 10, “For the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and give His life for a ransom of many.”

It's really nice that I have some really, really close friends that are compassionate and caring. But God wants you to know you are so valuable that Jesus laid down His life for you. Jesus would remind you that He had to be perfectly God and perfect humanity and that He would voluntarily go to the cross and lay down His life and die in your place – the word is atone – to cover your sin. Or literally to redeem or to pay for.

And Jesus is telling this group of people: There are lots of hirelings. There are lots of people that say, “I’ll help you get ahead and I’ve got your back.” And what they do is they want to use you. And He says: Not me. I’m going to show you the ultimate commitment and My ultimate commitment is I died in your place, I laid down My life.

And then notice Rome did not kill Jesus and the Jews did not kill Jesus. He says it’s voluntary. “I lay My life down and I voluntarily can pick it up.”

And that’s the picture that to a group of people that spent their life around sheep and know all about a shepherd, He says: I get you’re distressed and I know you’re downcast, and I want you to know this. I am for you, I am with you, I will go to any length, I have died in your place. And here’s My dream: I want to be your shepherd. I want to feed you, I want to protect you, I want to provide for you, I want to guide you, I want to take care of you. I love you! Of all the things I think that may take a lifetime to grasp and understand is just how much God loves us.

And so, let me pause just before we talk about how God wants to be your shepherd and what it looks like. Just lean back in your chair just for a second. Ask yourself a personal question: How, how do I actually see God? Not an actual picture, but how do I conceptualize Him? What is He like? Is He for me? Is He kind? Is He compassionate? Does He see where I mess up and where I struggle and where I get so frustrated? And is He patient? Is He fair? Is He dependable? Is He holy? Is He really just?

And God wants you to know: I’m not like anyone else. I love you and I’m for you.

And then notice the good shepherd reveals His identity not only as Savior but as God. “The Jews who heard these things were divided.” So, it’s just like today, right? People hear this story of Jesus and His amazing love. And, yet, some people think He’s a teacher, a liar, a philosopher. And others would believe He is the Savior of the world.

“Jews who heard these words were again divided. Many of them said, ‘He is demon-possessed. He’s raving mad. Why listen to Him?’ Others said, ‘These aren’t the sayings of a demon-possessed man. Can a demon-possessed man open the eyes of the blind?’” That had recently happened.

“And then there was a Festival,” context here, “of Dedication in Jerusalem and it was winter, and Jesus was in the temple and He was in the courts of Solomon in the Colonnade. And the Jews who were gathered around Him were saying, ‘How long are You going to keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’” You know, all this stuff about the gates and doors and shepherds. Come on, man! Are You Him or are You not? Are You really God incarnate? Are You the Savior of the world?

And notice Jesus’ response. He said, “I did tell you, but you wouldn’t believe Me.” And then notice His testimony. “The works that I do in My Father’s name testify about Me.” I fed five thousand, I fed four thousand, I raised the little girl from the dead, remember when I walked by and the young man was in the coffin and I touched the coffin? You see how I treat people? You see how I treated a woman who no one gave the time of day and I restored her life and I actually used this despised woman to reach a whole city? What more proof do you need?

And so, He goes on. He said, “But you don’t believe Me because you’re not My sheep. My sheep listen to My voice. I know them and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; and no one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me is greater than I; and no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” And then in verse 30, “I and the Father are one.”

Now, they asked, “Are You the Messiah?” And I want you to notice, because I put the outline in your notes. He basically is going to say: First of all, I have the power and I came to give eternal life. And for those that might be new, don’t think of eternal life as something that happens after you die that goes on forever. It’s a phrase that means a quality of life where the life of Jesus the moment we turn from our sin and in the empty hands of faith ask for forgiveness solely based on what Jesus did on the cross when He died and rose from the dead, and we say, “Forgive me. I fall short, I desperately need You,” and we turn from our sin and invite Him into our life, He says: My actual life comes to take residence inside of you and you are born afresh or born spiritually.

And then He goes on to say, “The Father and I are one.” When He says, “The Father and I are one,” He doesn’t say, “We are one person,” He’s saying we are one essence. This is, He is saying that, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father.” If you really want to know what God is like, just look at the life of Jesus. What does He say? What does He do? How does He act? And as it continues, His opponents, they pick up stones. Well, why? Jesus says, “Is it because of one of the good works that I did? Is that why you’re going to try to kill me?” And they say, “No, we are stoning You not for the good work, but for blasphemy, because You, a mere man, claim to be God.”

And then Jesus then explains it and then skip down to verse 39, “Again they tried to seize Him, but He escaped their grasp. And then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. And there He stayed,” now notice, “and many people came to Him and they said, ‘Though John never performed a sign or a miracle, all that John said about this man was true.’ And in that place many believed in Jesus.”

And so, you have two very vivid responses.