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Delivered By
John Kepple
Delivered On
February 26, 2023 at 10:30 AM
I Know My Own
Attached Document

I Know My Own
Jesus is the Good Shepherd who takes care of His sheep.
JOHN 10:7-14,25-30
Home security is a huge business. We can install a security system ourselves or use professionals
to install it, and we can self-monitor or use a company. We want to feel we are secure and the
things we possess are secure. In Bible times, shepherds served as security systems that protected
sheep. Jesus described Himself as the Good Shepherd, explaining that He protected His sheep.
List products and systems people use to keep their homes secure. How would you rate the items
you listed from most effective to least effective?
JOHN 10:1-42
Jesus often used parables, metaphors, and similes to teach spiritual truths through stories
ordinary people could understand. In chapter 10, Jesus used two important word pictures. He
likened Himself to a gate and a Good Shepherd. Jesus was both the gate by which the sheep
entered the sheepfold and the Good Shepherd who called them forth. No one can legitimately
enter without going through the gate—Jesus.
Jesus condemned the religious leaders who tried to steal sheep. A thief comes only to steal, kill,
and destroy. In contrast, Jesus came to give eternal and abundant life. Unlike the thief who wants
to harm the sheep, Jesus the Good Shepherd came to love, protect, and care for the sheep. The
sheep represent those who know Jesus—believers. When the Good Shepherd calls His sheep,
they follow Him because they know His voice. They are familiar with Him and know He loves
them. Fed by His hand, they go where He leads.
Jesus the Good Shepherd loves His flock so much that He laid down His life for them. He was
not a hired hand who fled when threatened by a predator. One might understand why the hireling
would run away since the sheep are not his. The Good Shepherd does not seek to escape when an
enemy approaches. He protects His flock even to the point of sacrificing His life.
The Pharisees interrupted Jesus’s teaching and demanded He clearly state whether He was the
Messiah. He had already made His identity clear, but they refused to believe. They became
enraged when Jesus claimed to be one with the Father. They tried to kill Him, but He escaped
and traveled to the Jordan River where John formerly baptized. People there remarked that even
John never did works like Jesus, and many of them believed in Him.
As you read John 10:7-14,25-30 in your Bible, highlight each time Jesus used the pronoun “I”
when referring to Himself. How would you summarize what these uses teach about Jesus?
THE GATE (JOHN 10:7-10)
7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8
All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the
door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have
life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Verily, verily indicates that Jesus was about to teach an important truth. What follows is His
explanation of the parable in verses 1-5. These verses contain the first of two ways Jesus
identified His role in the parable: I am the door of the sheep. The imagery is of the shepherd who
guards the sheep by sleeping in the opening in the sheepfold. Doing so, the shepherd literally
placed himself between the flock and any predators or thieves.
Toward the end of the day, the shepherd would lead the sheep into a pen known as a sheepfold.
A shepherd might construct a permanent sheepfold by stacking stones into a large, almostenclosed
area. He would put briers and brambles on the top of the stone wall. If a wolf or fox
tried to get to the sheep, it would get entangled in the branches on top of the wall. Often the
sheepfold backed up to a cave, which provided protection from inclement weather. A temporary
sheepfold would be similar, except it would be made of just briers and brambles.
The opening in the sheepfold wall provided access into and out of the enclosure. A hired guard, a
servant, or often a shepherd himself would sleep in the opening, serving as the sheepfold’s door.
Shepherds led their flocks out of the sheepfolds in the morning. Each shepherd had a unique call;
only his sheep would come if multiple flocks had shared the sheepfold.
Jesus depicted all that ever came before Him as thieves and robbers. These were the religious
leaders and false messiahs of His day. Describing them, Jesus used two words. Thieves is a
translation of the Greek word kleptes, from which we get “kleptomaniac.” The term referred to
those who typically stole in secret but were not violent. Sheep and goats were often nabbed by
thieves. Robbers, however, were bandits, often armed, who worked in groups to attack and steal
from caravans and travelers—such as those mentioned in the story of the good Samaritan (Luke
10:30). The two men crucified with Jesus were robbers (Matt. 27:38). Jesus said His sheep did
not hear or follow the false messiahs and religious leaders with self-focused agendas.
In verse 9, Jesus repeated, I am the door (see also v. 7). The pronouncement is a reminder that
Jesus was speaking allegorically. A sheepfold had only one entrance. In referring to Himself as
the door, Jesus was affirming that He is the only way to enter and to become part of the family or
flock of God (see John 14:6).
Jesus repeated the if any man formula found earlier (John 6:51; 7:17; 8:51), which included a
promise of eternal life. Jesus also picked up on the Old Testament imagery of God’s people
enjoying blessings and protection (Ps. 121:7-8). To be saved, to go in and out, and to find pasture
highlighted the sheep’s security from the thieves, robbers, and other predators.
As opposed to a thief who comes to steal a sheep to slaughter it for food, Jesus came to offer
life—abundant and free. It is a life that gives believers meaning, purpose, and satisfaction for
their days on earth. Additionally, this life is eternal; it extends beyond the grave. Only through
Christ can we experience the overwhelming joy of what God intends our lives to be.
How does Jesus serve as the gate into abundant life?
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an
hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth
the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling
fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and
know my sheep, and am known of mine.
Whereas Jesus earlier identified Himself as the door for the sheep, in these verses He referred to
Himself as the good shepherd. The Greek word translated good describes someone noble or
worthy. Jesus is not one of many good shepherds. He, the good shepherd, has no equal.
Jesus did the work a shepherd should do—caring for sheep, leading them, rescuing those that had
gone astray, and making sure they were fed, well-watered, and protected. Those actions would be
expected of an adequate shepherd. Jesus, though, was beyond adequate; He was the model of
what an ideal shepherd should be. Jesus stated what set Him apart; He willingly giveth his life
for the sheep. The phrase giveth his life appears uniquely in John’s writings: John 10:11,17-18;
13:37-38; 15:13; 1 John 3:16. Jesus used the term to refer to His voluntary, sacrificial, and
atoning death.
For a shepherd to give his life for his sheep was rare and certainly not expected. A shepherd
might die by accident while attending his flock but certainly not intentionally. A shepherd
needed to be alive to care for his flock. The word for in the phrase for the sheep is significant. It
does not mean Jesus gave His life as an example or as a way to inspire His flock of followers. It
means that when the sheep are facing mortal danger, He gets between the sheep and the predator.
He fights and dies so the sheep don’t have to.
How do people recognize Jesus as the true Shepherd?
VERSES 12-14
The good shepherd stood in stark contrast to both “the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock”
(Zech. 11:17) and the hireling who leaveth the sheep, fleeth when threatened, and careth not for
the sheep.
The intent of thieves, robbers, and wolves was to harm the animals. The hireling was responsible
for providing protection and security. By hireling, Jesus was referring to Jewish religious leaders,
each of whom was paid for his service. In the parable, the hired hand’s concern was not for the
sheep—but that he got paid.
Two things indicate the hired hand does not own the sheep: he abandons the sheep when they are
threatened and does not care about the sheep. Shepherds take great risks because they do care
about their sheep. There is a bond between the animals and their owner. Verse 14 emphasizes
that relationship. Jesus reiterated that He is the Good Shepherd who knows His own sheep and
they know Him. The Greek word translated known doesn’t mean to have information about
something. Instead of knowing in the head, it carries the idea of knowing in the heart—of having
a deeply personal relationship based on mutual trust and respect. Jesus likened this relationship
to what He shares with the Father (v. 15). This type of heart connection is possible because the
flock is His own sheep—again, in contrast to the hired hand.
Since Jesus loved us enough to lay down His life on the cross for us, He will withhold nothing
good on behalf of His people. We need not fear the attacks of evil nor quake at harmful
circumstances. Our Shepherd remains close at hand to provide, lead, care, and defend.
How does the contrast between the hired hand and the Good Shepherd help us understand Jesus’s
BIBLE SKILL: Use other Scripture to help understand a Bible passage.
On a separate sheet of paper, create a two-column list. In the first column include descriptions of
the sheep and the Good Shepherd from John 10. In the second column, write aspects found in
Psalm 23. What insights from Psalm 23 help you appreciate John 10?
25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s
name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said
unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto
them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of
my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one.
VERSES 25-27
Perplexed by what Jesus had been teaching, the Jews demanded He reveal plainly whether He
was the Messiah (v. 24). Jesus Himself had told them on numerous occasions (John 5:39-47;
8:12-18,58). In fact, He had been telling who He was for over three years, yet they did not
believe. Also, the works Jesus had been doing signified He was the Messiah. These works
included the miracles Jesus performed and the messages He preached and taught. Everything
Jesus had done pointed to the fact He was the Messiah. However, He was not the type of
Messiah people were expecting—thus they didn’t believe (John 1:11).
When teaching about His sheep, Jesus explained the connection between the sheep and shepherd.
In doing so, He stressed ownership, hearing, and obedience.
• Ownership: the shepherd “calleth his own sheep by name . . . when he putteth forth his own
sheep, he goeth before them . . . [I] know my sheep, and am known of mine” (10:3,4,14,
emphasis added).
• Hearing: “the sheep hear his [the shepherd’s] voice . . . . they know his voice” (vv. 3,4).
• Obedience: “The sheep follow him” (v. 4).
The Jews who surrounded Jesus in the temple complex were not of His sheep (v. 26). They did
not hear His voice and did not follow Him. Jesus did not know them, meaning He did not have
that deep, heart-based relationship with them.
Verse 27 is a reminder of what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “’Many will say to me in
that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils?
and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew
you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt 7:22-23, emphasis added). One cannot
imagine hearing more dreadful or sadder words.
VERSES 28-30
This text clearly and succinctly teaches the eternal security of the believer in Christ. Those who
receive God’s gift of eternal life will never perish. Death will not win. Believers pass from
temporal life to eternal life. By its very definition, eternal life never ends.
The phrase at the beginning of verse 28, I give unto them, is a reminder that salvation is a gift
(see Eph. 2:8). There is nothing we can do to earn salvation and nothing we might do to lose it.
Therefore, the believer’s salvation is secure.
Our faith is not based on our ability to hold onto God; at best, we are weak. It is based on the
firm hand of Jesus and of the Father—both of whom hold us securely. To be held in the hand of
Christ is to be held in the hand of God, since the two are one.
The Father is greater than all who would seek to harm us—all the thieves, robbers, religious
hired hands, false prophets, deceivers, earthly rulers, forces of darkness, and even the devil
himself. No one can snatch us out of God’s hand; we are secure in Christ.
Jesus and the Father are one—one in intent, action, nature, and essence. In the task of holding
securely onto the sheep, they are one. The Father and the Son embrace us with unrelenting power
and love. As is often stated, God does the saving and God does the securing. Our role is to
respond in faith.
How does Jesus’s promise of eternal life bring peace to a person’s life?
KEY DOCTRINE: God’s Purpose and Grace
Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from
the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. (See Malachi 3:6; 2 Timothy 1:12.)
• Believers find abundant life through faith in Jesus.
• Believers can trust Jesus to protect them.
• Believers can know that they are secure in Jesus’s hand.
Discuss as a group the dangers faced by believers today. How are the dangers faced by those far
from God like those who are close to God? What might your Bible study group do to offer
support for those who are threatened today?
What hinders us from hearing the voice of Jesus and following Him? What changes might we
need to make this week to walk more closely to Him so you can more easily hear His voice?