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Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx
Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx

Episode 101 · 5 months ago

The Good Shepherd

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The Good Shepherd

John 10:1-21

Dax Bryant - preaching

After this week, as as many of you know Ed, and I traveled to Anaheim to attend the SPC annual meeting. Will have more to say about that later. Um, not today, but we'll give us a couple of weeks at least to process things. But let me just say in the midst of all that it is very enjoyable to be back here gathered with this local Church of people that we know and love. So it is our is my privilege to be here with you this morning. Will you pray with me before we get into John Chapter ten? Here, our great God, you, who have revealed yourself to us in creation, who has placed eternity in our hearts so that we might know that this life is not all there is, who has spoken to us through the profits and the apostles in your word, who has manifested yourself among us and your son, the Lord of the Church, the great shepherd of the sheep, the one who rules and reigns over all things, the one who was making all things new, prepare our hearts now, by your spirit, to hear from you and to receive your word thankfully, with whatever result you intend, for our good and for Your glory. Amen. Well, we are not taking an entire chapter of the gospel of John this morning, but I do have a lot to say about it. So we're just gonna jump right in here. If you remember last week how John Chapter nine ends. The blind man was was healed, he was given spiritual sight so that he could see who Jesus was. In fact, he could come to worship Jesus, and the Pharisees, the religious leaders, who thought that they could see, they were confirmed in their blindness and they rejected Jesus. And there really isn't a greater division than that. Is there? And the passage that we have here before us this morning, and John Ten, the first one versus, it ends in the same way as John Nine ended, with division, and that is something of a pattern in John's Gospel, especially in chapter five through ten, that we see again and again that that Jesus performs a sign, then he has some form of dialogue and that ends in division. In fact, we're gonna do something a little bit different as we come at this passage this morning. We're gonna start at the end of the passage so that we can keep in mind this fact that that Jesus is exclusive. Declarations are designed to elicit divided reactions. He doesn't say these things by accidents. So so, first I want us to go to the end of the passage here and I want us to observe this designed division, what what we're gonna call a calculated conflict. So we're gonna start this morning in verse nineteen, towards the end of the passage. Notice there was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, he has a demon and it is insane. Why listen to him? And if that sounds familiar, it should if you've been reading through John's Gospel. It sounds very much like the conclusion that was reached in John Chapter Eight, Verse Fifty Two, where the people say now we know that you have a demon. We've heard this before. Back to John Ten, others said these are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind? And that also sounds familiar. That echoes the same type of division we saw in the last chapter. In fact, John Nix, some of the Pharisees said this man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath, but others said how can I, and who was a sinner do such signs, and there was division among them. Division. Either Jesus has a demon or he is from God. Those are the options presented before us. There's no middle ground here. But in the case of John, Chapter Ten, what is it that prompts this division? This was a calculated conflict. Look at first nineteen again. There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. We could read that backwards and say these words were the cause of the division among the Jews. Right. Jesus's exclusive declarations, which we'll look at in this passage, are designed to elicit divided reactions, and this is something that is true of God's Word at all times. Do you know this? In Isaiah,...

...verse eleven, God says that his word goes out from his mouth and that it shall not return to him empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and it shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Now where we go wrong, as we often assume that our purpose is going to align with God's purpose. For example, we might speak the Gospel to someone, hoping praying that they will respond by putting their faith in Christ, but when they don't, that is not as if the word of God has failed, because the same word of God that goes forth that can be designed to bring salvation, is also designed to bring condemnation. If you remember, in Isaiah, six after Isaiah receives that that vision of the Lord and the Temple and then he receives this commission to go preach the word of God to Israel in order, this is the purpose of God's word being preached in this instance, to make the hearts of this people dull and their ears heavy and they're and blind their eyes lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and turn and be healed. God says in his word that he forms light and creates darkness, that he makes well being and creates calamity. God gives, God takes away, God raises up, God tears down. God has mercy on whomever he wills and he hardens whomever he wills. God prepares vessels of mercy for glory and he prepares vessels of Wrath for destruction. In other words, when the word of God goes forth, God is glorified both in his saving and in his judging. Now how he works all that out is beyond our ability to fully comprehend. The point for now is simply this. As God in the flesh, Jesus's words, the exclusive declarations that Jesus makes, are also designed to elicit divided reactions and and to press the point a bit more personally for you here, as we look at John's Gospel, John's recorded intention in sharing Jesus's words here is that you would pick a side. This book is God's Word and since it is, it is designed to elicit divided reactions. But John, the author of this Gospel, he has a stated purpose for what he writes. It's found in chapter twenty, verse Thirty One. We haven't mentioned it for a while, but John's reason for writing these things is so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. Now, in John Ten nineteen, John writes that there was a division because of Jesus's words. So we want to take a look at Jesus's words in this passage that results in this calculated conflict. That's where it ends. Let's look at where it begins. Jesus begins with a cryptic comparison in verses one through six. Truly truly, I say to you something we haven't mentioned lately either, but remember when Jesus says this, it's a it's a cue that what he is about to say next is going to be something groundbreaking, something that you should sit up and pay attention to. Truly truly, I say to you, but who is the you? Right? Who is he speaking to here? And the answer is it's the same people he's been speaking to this whole time. Right, look, look back at chapter nine, verse forty. Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things and said to him, are we all so blind? Jesus said to them, if you were blind, you would have no guilt, but now that you say, we see, your guilt remains. And then, unfortunately, that big number ten on the page in your Bible that signifies the start of a new chapter can give the wrong impression, because the setting hasn't changed, the audience hasn't changed. Jesus is continuing here to speak to those same people, these same pharisees. And the very next sentence, truly truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheep fold by the door, but climbs in by another way. That man is a thief...

...and a robber, but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him, the gatekeeper opens, the sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. So our task here initially is to figure out what in the world is Jesus talking about. Just just look at all the different characters and elements here of this word picture. There's a thief, a robber, a shepherd, a sheep, a gatekeeper, strangers, there's a there's a lot going on here, and Jesus is not very explicit about what it all means. Why not? Well, one of the Pharisees just said at the chapter nine they've said, basically, you're not saying we're blind, we can see. And so Jesus is painting them a picture to see how true that really is. This is kind of like a vision test, and the picture that Jesus Paints portrays Jesus as the one true shepherd of his people who knows them, leads them, provides for them and protects them. Now certainly this, this imagery of a sheep fold, would be familiar to anyone living in first century Israel, but the analogy of a shepherd here should be especially familiar to the Pharisees who knew their bibles very well. And this is worth turning to. Leave your finger in John Ton and and flip back over the Old Testament to Ezekiel Chap, get the book of Psalms kind of in the middle and go past that, come to Jeremiah lamentations, Ezekiel thirty four, and what we find in Ezekiel thirty four is a rebuke that God speaks through the Prophet Ezekiel to the religious leaders of his day. And listen to the word picture given here Ezekiel thirty four. The word of the Lord came to me, son of man. That is not a reference to the messianic son a man, it's just a way of saying human, in this case son of man. Prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to them, even to the shepherds thus says the Lord God ah, shepherds of Israel, who have been feeding yourselves. Should not the shepherds, feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the Ole, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep, the weak. You have not strengthened the thick, you have not healed the injured, you have not bound up the Straye, you have not brought back the lost, you have not thought and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them. And as you go back to John Ten, take that same imagery with you now, and it can help us understand this word picture. Who are the thieves and robbers that Jesus speaks of? Who is the stranger calling out to the sheep? When we put Aechiel thirty four against this, it makes it clear. The thief and the robber and the strangers. This is a reference to the religious leaders, to the Pharisees, the ones who are more interested in fleecing the sheep. Then they are knowing and leading and protecting and providing for them. They are unauthorized by God to enter the sheep fold and so they sneak in and they brutalize and exploit the sheep. So put that picture against the picture Jesus Paints of the shepherd who, in verse two, we're told, enters legitimately through the door of the sheep fold. Verse Three tells us that the gatekeeper kind of a an under shepherd that's contracted uh for security. He recognizes the shepherd and he lets him in, he opens the door for him. And then, Jesus says, still in verse three, the sheep here his voice, that is the voice of the shepherd. The shepherd calls out to the sheep, to all of the sheep who are in the pen. Now it says he calls his own...

...sheep, which suggests there are a variety of sheep in this pin. And notice, furthermore, he calls his own sheep by name. He calls his own flock out of the sheep pen that, in this specific case, is the sheep pin of of Judaism. And notice how they are identified as as his sheep, even before he calls them by name here. And not only does he know his sheep and know them by name, but the end of verse three says that he leads them out, which calls to mind uh reference in numbers that you maybe you missed this when you did your Bible reading plan because it's happens quickly, but numbers, versus fifteen through seventeen. Moses is praying for a successor, uh, someone who will lead the people of God, and the verse that the text says bring them in and bring them out so that they will not be as sheep that have no shepherd, the verse says. And then the very next verse identifies that successor that Moses praised for. We talked about this in Sunday school today. Actually, his name is Yeshiwa Joshua, as it's transliterated in the Old Testament, Jesus as it's transliterated in the New Testament. And then verse four, after the Shepherd has brought out, notice all of his sheep, none of them are left behind. He goes ahead of them to lead them, and his sheep follow him simply because they know his voice. On the other hand, verse five says they won't follow strangers. In fact, they'll flee from those other voices because they do not know them. So this is the picture that that Jesus is painting for the Pharisees. Unlike the thief and the robber, whom the sheep do not know, the True Shepherd, he knows and is known by and leads his sheep. Now Jesus doesn't come out precisely, at least here, and identify himself as the shepherd. He doesn't do that. Yet that's what this is, what makes it kind of a cryptic comparison. But think about what he's just done in John Nine right, he's called a blind man to himself and he's transformed him into a worshiper. And on the other hand, the Pharisees have reviled that same blind man and excommunicated him from the synagogue. So this is not just an analogy. This this reflects reality, the reality of the situation that's just happened. And so again, this picture is sort of like an exam. It's a vision test. So how is the eyesight of the Pharisees? The answers in verse six, this figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. But then again, how could they write? They are spiritually blind, they are not of his flock. They're guilt remains, as Jesus says at the end of John Nine. So this brings us to verse seven. So Jesus again said to them. So now he's going to elaborate, to kind of unpack this cryptic comparison. Since they are unable to understand, he's gonna enhance the picture that identifies now himself as the true shepherd who not only knows and leads his sheep but also, as we'll see here, he provides and protects is she and so, starting here in verse seven, running through verse eighteen, Jesus takes that initial cryptic comparison and he expands upon it now with some clarifying commentary. This is this next big section, clarifying commentary. And in this clarifying commentary Jesus is going to make two more of those famous I am statements. In fact, he'll repeat each one of them twice. And so that's how we're gonna divide up this clarifying commentary, by aligning with those two statements. I am the door. That'll be the framework for verses seven through ten and I am the Good Shepherd, and that will help shape verses eleventh through eighteen. So both of those statements are exclusive declarations to be God, and again Jesus's exclusive declarations are designed to elicit divided reactions. So let's let's...

...look at this clarifying commentary, the First Section here around that statement. I am the door verse seven. So Jesus again said to them, truly truly, I say to you. So there's that phrase again, right. That means listen up. Truly truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. So notice how now, in this clarifying commentary, Jesus expanding the Metaphor. Here he's he's changing it a little bit. The gatekeeper that he initially referred to is gone from this metaphor. And notice to the sheep that are in this pin now they all belong only to this shepherd, and rather than just leading them out, we're told that he leads them both in and out and now here. Jesus isn't the implied shepherd that enters by the door, he is the door. So this is an exclusive declaration that Jesus makes and it aligns up with what we see Jesus say later in this Gospel. He will say I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me. Or, if we think back to the sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks of entering God's kingdom through a door or a gate. He says, enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is easy. That leads to destruction and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is Arrow in the way it is hard, that leads to life and those who find it are few. So when Jesus refers to himself as the door, this is what's in mind. This is an exclusive declaration, and we we can begin to see just how exclusive this is. I am the door by taking note of two contrasts and two promises. Notice Verse Eight. We see the first contrast here is introduced. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. So we're introduced to the thieves and robbers again. And at this point Jesus probably has in mind not just the Pharisees, but but perhaps even all of the other messianic pretenders, all of the false teachers who lead their followers, despite their promises of freedom, who lectually actually them into destruction. And again we're told, like in verse five, that the sheep who belonged to Jesus do not listen to those other voices. And then, as he makes the contrast in verse nine, he also makes a promise. So there's the thieves and the robbers, the sheep don't listen to them. Verse Nine, I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. So Jesus sets himself up, in contrast as the exclusive means by which the flock can enter the sheep fold and find safety and nourishment. He alone offers the ultimate spiritual provision and protection for his sheep. So that's the first contrast and first promise wrapped up in that and notice here the second contrast that's introduced in verse ten. The thief comes need to steal, kill and destroy. As we think about other so called saviors that that might promise provision, they may promise protection, their agenda is very different. We can think even about world leaders in our own day or throughout history. They steal, they steal time and money, sometimes even property. They kill, they show little regard for the value of human life in a variety of settings. They destroy. They Destroy Morals and cultures and legacies and belief. They leave a trail of defeated and trampled sheep in their wake. And notice how, when Jesus brings the contrast around here, that there's another Mus infused into it, still in verse ten.

In contrast to those who come to steal, kill and destroy, I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. Jesus calls his followers not to a miserable, suffocating existence but to a rich, full, joyful, meaningful life, an abundant life that satisfies your soul the catches. There's only one way to receive that abundant life. There's only one basis for spiritual security, only one source of spiritual nourishment. Only one way to enter God's eternal kingdom through Jesus alone. You must enter by him and him alone. So that is the first part of Jesus's clarifying commentary. I am the door. There is no other way to enter. Here's the second part of his clarifying commentary and it centers around that statement. I am the Good Shepherd. Verse Eleven he says I am the Good Shepherd. So remember in this picture that Jesus has been painting for us, in this I exam, we've seen that Jesus knows the sheep, he knows his sheep, he calls them by name, he leads his sheep. His sheep hear his voice, they recognize his voice, they follow him and he's gathering in his sheep through one door for the purpose of eternal protection and provision to to give them abundant life. That's what happens there through verse ten. Now in verse eleven we're gonna see how Jesus the Good Shepherd, how he actually goes about doing that, how he actually gathers the flock that he knows and leads, and and how it is that he provides this protection and provision for them. So so here this is how it actually happens. This is the action that Jesus takes to make those promises a reality. I am the Good Shepherd. Noticed that word good first of all Callos in the Greek. It carries the idea of nobility or worthiness, and so the picture here it is not of a sentimental, rather effeminate kind of shepherd who has just gathered up some fluffy lambs in his arms and carefully tiptoes around. The duty of a shepherd might be referred to in our culture today as as something that reflects a toxic masculinity. The duty of a shepherd was exhausting, sometimes even dangerous work. Remember, before David was a king, he was a shepherd who killed lions and bears to protect his flock. Jesus says, I am the Good Shepherd, the Noble Shepherd, the Worthy Shepherd. So so how does this good shepherd go about gathering his flock and giving them abundant life? Here's how the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep, and at this point simply meaning that the Good Shepherd is prepared to do that. He's willing to risk his life for the sheep, just like David, was willing to risk his life to fight off those predators. But here's where the metaphor breaks down, as all metaphors do. An ordinary shepherd to actually have no interest in dying for his sheep, because if he actually died, the flock would be left unprotected, exposed. But but, Jesus, he doesn't merely just put his life at risk, he lays it down. In fact, in this section of versus, here in these eight verses, just just notice the emphasis he places on this. Five Times in these eight verses. You See, I lay down my life. I lay it down this. This reassures us that, far from being a tragic accident or an unforeseen casualty, Jesus, laying down his life is precisely what qualifies him to be the Good Shepherd. It's why the author of Hebrews refers to him as the great shepherd of a sheep. And when he lays...

...down his life, when he does this, not only is his flock not exposed to further threats, this is the means by which he actually draws his flock to himself and saves them. In his dying. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. And now notice yet another contrast here that's made in verse twelve. Unlike the Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for the sheep, Verse Twelve He, who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. So in this clarifying commentary, we get introduced to a new character, the hired hand here, who's not portrayed as necessarily wicked, like thieves and the robbers are, but more perhaps um selfish, self centered. As long as there is no personal risk to him, he's happy to do his job as long as he gets his paycheck. But if danger approaches, you can be sure he's gonna save his own skin first and leave the sheep to fend for themselves. So the hired hand is placed here as a foil to help remind us of everything that the Good Shepherd is not. And notice the repetition now in verse fourteen. We saw it first in verse eleven, again in Verse Fourteen. I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own no me, just as the father knows me and I know the father. And again he says, I lay down my life for the sheep. Now we've already been introduced to this intimate knowledge that is shared between the shepherd and his sheep. We saw that in verses three and four. But notice here what it is that that intimate knowledge is based on. What that intimate knowledge is grounded in? How intimately do the good shepherd and his sheep Know Each Other? And we can answer that question by asking another. How intimately do God, the father and God the Son Know Each Other? You see it there. I know my own and my own no me just as in the same way as the father knows me, Jesus says, and I know the father. That is startling, isn't it? That you are to know and be known by Jesus in the same way that Jesus and the Father Know Each Other, and it tells us that there's something unique and special about the relationship that Jesus has with his sheep. We can see it embedded in these verses. It's there in verse eleven. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for who the sheep. Again here in Verse Fifteen. I laid down my life for who the sheep, meaning. This is particular, this is specific. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep, all the sheep. All the context makes it clear. These are the sheep who belong to him. These are the same sheep that here his voice, that he calls by name, that follow him, that he leads in and out, that he provides for, that he protects. These are the sheep for whom he lays down his life. and to kind of move out of the metaphor for a minute here, what this means is that when Jesus laid down his life, he accomplished an actual atonement that actually saved not all people generically, but some people specifically. His substitutionary death didn't just create the potential for atonement, that that kind of cracks the door of salvation open, and you make it real when you push it the rest of the way. No, Jesus's death actually satisfied God's wrath. It actually paid in full the penalty for the sheep who belong to him, whom he calls by name. Jesus's death is exclusively for his sheep, or, to put it in New Testament terms, and Ehesians five,...

Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. So so how does that happen? Let's not guess. Let's look at what the text says. I laid down my life four. The sheep that that word translated for is who pair. It literally means four. It's a it's a fairly common word. But but here's the thing. When John Uses this common word, who pair, in his Gospel, it is almost always in the context of sacrifice. For example, John Sixty one, when Jesus says I'm the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give four, the life of the world, is my flesh. Or, as we'll see when we get to the upper room, in John Fifteen, verse thirteen, Gray Her love has no one than this, that someone day lay down his life for his friends. That word is is almost always used in a sacrificial context in John's Gospel. So when Jesus says here I laid down my life for the sheep, that means in his death he's not just setting an example or creating the possibility of salvation. His death is substitutionary. It is for in the place of his sheep, he lays down his life to defend the sheep, but it is through his death that his sheep are actually saved, and that's what makes him the Good Shepherd. It's the shepherd's sacrificial death that secures the redemption of the sheep. This has done for his sheep, in the place of his sheep, the sheep who belonged to him. This sacrifice is intentional and particular and definite and, moreover, it's grounded in the intimate relationship that Jesus has with his sheep, a relationships whose intimacy reflects the relationship that exists between God the father and God the Son. Notice for sixteen and I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. Now try to be a little more quick here, but there are several things that help us understand here as best we can, how it is that the good shepherd gathers his flock. He says, I have other sheep that are not of this fold. So so what's he saying here? Well, again, as I mentioned in the immediate context, the sheep fold in verse one represents Judaism. Jesus calls his own sheep out of that fold, and so the reference to another fold must be non Jews gentiles, which is a big deal, as far as I know, for everyone in this room, unless you happen to be Jewish, because this includes you. But notice what he says. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. So Jesus knows his sheep, no matter what fold therein currently. But did you catch it? He has them before they come to him. He hasn't brought them out yet. He hasn't called them out by name yet. He will, but they already belonged to him before he calls them. How can that be? Because these sheep already belonged to the father and he's given them to the son. We saw that back in chapter six, verse Thirty Seven, where Jesus said all that the father gives me will come. We'll see that next week, Lord Willing. In Chapter Ten, Verse Twenty Nine, my father has given them to me. The sheep first belonged to the father, who gives them to the son or, as Paul writes, an Ehesians one. He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be wholly and blameless before him. In love, he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ. Why did God do that? Why did he do it that way? The text says, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, by his will, for his glory. That is the best answer I can offer you. Back to Verse Sixteen, John Ten Sixteen, and I have other sheep that are not of this fold. Notice, I must bring them also. You could translate this as it is necessary that I bring them also. This must happen. Why? Because the father has chosen them. Jesus has...

...said that he will lay down his life for them. So it is unthinkable that the father would choose sheep for his son give them to his son. The son would say I will lay down my life for them, and yet the son would fail to bring them home. There can be no question. They will be brought. They must be brought. How? By his word, by calling to them. The sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and he leads them out. And maybe you're thinking, well, I've never heard Jesus's voice. You're hearing it right now, not by me, but through his word proclaimed. You hear it. You hear the voice of Jesus as you share the Gospel with other people in your life. This is how he brings his sheep to himself. It's the same way that he did it back then, through his word. I must bring them also and they will listen to my voice. Do you hear the certainty in that statement? I must bring them and they will listen to my voice. Jesus has this self authenticating inherent authority. They will listen because he must bring them. And he doesn't mean that they will listen and then chew on it and decide to stay in their current sheep fold or maybe go join another flock somewhere. No, they will listen to my voice. Means that they will come. His call is effectual, they will follow him to what end. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. Here that authority of Jesus again there will be on flock, one shepherd. Salvation comes from the Jews. It has extended to the gentiles so that all of God's people, maybe one in Christ Jesus. Flip over to the next chapter and John Real quick towards the end. John Eleven fifty one. The Jews is towards end of Jesus's life that they're arguing. In the wake of Lazarus being raised from the dead and the effect that that's having on people, they are arguing about what to do with Jesus. CAIAPHAS, who's the high priest, he he makes the argument that it's better to kill Jesus than to let him live and risk the wrath of the Romans on everybody. And then John adds in Cha speaking of Caiaphas, he did not say this of his own accord, but being high priests that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not just for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad, Jews, gentiles, one flock, one shepherd. So what Jesus says here in Verse Sixteen, it's more than just the fulfillment of Messianic Prophecy. This is something we can grab onto church, because what Jesus says in Verse Sixteen is the basis for the confidence that you should have in the mission of the church. Think about this. If we believe Jesus, if we take him at his word here, if he must gather his sheep from other faults, if they will listen to his call, what does that mean for us? It means that the global mission of the church to save his sheep will succeed. Here in central Texas and all around the world, God is working unfailingly to save his sheep, the sheep that he chose to give to the sun, the same sheep for whom the Sun lays down his life. And you, if you are a believer in Christ, you are part of speaking this word. If Jesus is your shepherd, this is part of your work. Not Because you're special, not because you're more worthy than someone else. The realization that you belong to the flock of God should never result in arrogance or pride, only in ever increasing humility and gratitude. But when the Good Shepherd laid down his life, he did it to purchase sheep that belonged to him out of every tribe and language and nation and people, which means that wherever you are, there are people who need to hear the voice of Jesus, and they will hear that through your faithful nous to his word. And so you don't need to let fear or...

...indifference or prejudice of any kind holds you back from declaring the Gospel to other people. Instead, you can press forward with a confident expectation that the gospel will prevail, because the sheep must come. Jesus starts to wrap up this clarifying commentary. In verse seventeen. He says, for this reason, the father loves me because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. Be careful here. It's not that the father is withholding his love until Jesus agrees to give up his life on the cross. Rather, the point is the love of the father for the son is eternally linked with the perfect obedience and dependence from the son to the father. In other words, it is the love of the father for the son and the love of the son for the father that existed before the world began, and in fact it is those eternal loving relationships within the trinity that makes salvation and entering into a loving relationship with God even possible for the sheep. And it is this love from eternity past that motivates Jesus and his humanity to be obedient. And notice there too, the purpose for which Jesus lays down his life. He says for this reason, the father loves me because I laid down my life, that that's a purpose clause in the Greek Hinna. So that I may take it up again, the purpose for his dying was to rise from the dead, that the sacrificial death was never the endgame. It's it's the resurrection that was always in view. Through the Resurrection Jesus was ultimately glorified, and by the resurrection he causes his sheep to live. And then, still speaking of his life, Jesus concludes in Verse Eighteen. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my father. Sometimes the question is asked who killed Jesus? Who is responsible for the death of God's son? It must be his enemies, the Jews, the Romans, both yes, in one sense, and if that's all there is to it, then at best Jesus is a heroic martyr to remember, but of course, that's not all there was to it. Right. There was no part of Jesus's life or death that took part, that took place out of God's sovereign plan. And that reality changes everything because it means that the sacrificial death of the shepherd was not an accident or bad luck or tragic fate. The sacrificial death of the shepherd was the father's plan, always the father's plan to provide for and to protect the sheep. And part of what makes that so beautiful is that in his humanity, Jesus is aware of this plan and he voluntarily lays down his life of his own accord. This commission that he's received, this this authority that he's and even who he's received it from. This is the basis for why he can lay down his life and, not only that, why he can take his life back up again. Do you get a sense of the oneness there between the father and the son, in both the command and in the obedience to carry out the command? Well, we'll see more of that oneness next week. There are wonderful and deep truths contained here in the words of Jesus, and the result of these words of Jesus Division that's how the passage ends. Jesus's exclusive declarations are designed to elicit divided reactions. WHO speaks like this? Jesus sets himself up where you can only conclude he is either insane or divine. So how can you know which it is? Listen to his voice.

I referred already to Isechiel thirty four and that rebuke that God gives to the shepherds of Israel. It was written six hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ. And after that rebuke, listen to what God says. Behold I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered. I will bring them into their own land. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep and I myself will make them lie down. Declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost and I will bring back the stray and I will bind up the injured and I will strengthen the weak. God declares that he will be the shepherd of his people. But they he continues, and I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant, David, and he shall feed them. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. So we're left wondering, is the shepherd divine or is the shepherd human? And the answer, of course, is yes. Just as the word was God, and with God the word became flesh and manifested himself. Among us, only Jesus Christ, the God man, can say I am the Good Shepherd. Do you know his voice? Have you heard his call? Are you following him? Are you seeking him for your provision, for your protection? If you belong to him, you can grasp on to the promise that he laid down his life for you so that you might be saved and receive an eternal, abundant life. There is no other way to God but through the one door, who is Jesus Christ. And so today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, but follow him. Whoever comes to him, he will never cast out. He is the Good Shepherd. The question you need to ask yourself is he your shepherd?.

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