The good shepherd

A recap of the youth group bible teaching from Sunday August 10th 2008.

John 10:1-18. Jesus is the good shepherd.

Overview: Jesus continues to use lots of metaphors to help us understand who he is and what he’s about. This is one of the most famous ones. In v11 Jesus says “I am the good shepherd” and he is the good shepherd who has come “that you may have life and have it to the full” (v10).

Unfortunately a lot of people have passage the wrong way around… Many people think that Jesus is a bad shepherd who has come to ruin your life. If you become a Christian your life will be wrecked. We fool ourselves into thinking that Jesus came to steal and kill and destroy” and that he came to take life away not give it to the full. So to become a Christian is to ruin life, because Christians are against every thing that is fun, exciting, pleasurable, and fattening…

So many people believe this about Christianity, and they spend life keeping as far away from it as possible. But Jesus says totally the opposite, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (v10)

What’s interesting is that there are lots of things in our culture that promise life to the full, but… the reality is that in fact they kill and destroy. There are plenty of things around like that when you look for them. Just think about the ads for alcohol for a minute… The posters always have beautiful men and women partying the night away with a bottle of Baccardi, or a Jack Daniels. The beverage promises you a good time, it promises life to the full but… in fact it takes life away. These ads don’t tell you about all the families that have been broken apart by alcohol addiction… They don’t tell you about the all the domestic violence caused by drunk fathers or boyfriends, or mothers…

So the question we need to ask is: “If life is being promised, then is it being delivered?

And Jesus is promising life to the full, so how does Jesus promise and deliver life?

Well John chapter 10 shows us 3 things that are at the heart of Jesus’ promise to deliver life to the full.

    1. Life to the full is about relationship with God. 10:2-3

The metaphor of the shepherd and sheep is a picture of intimacy. This is not a picture of modern day farming with thousands of sheep, but a picture of shepherding in 1st Century Palestine where a shepherd’s flock usually only had about 20 sheep and he new them all by name and the sheep know his voice.

  • Would you describe your relationship with God to be that intimate? That you know him personally and he knows you.
    2. Life to the full is about leadership. 10:3-5

Sheep need a shepherd because they are sheep! They’re not vicious fighting machines, they don’t have sharp teeth, and they can’t defend themselves… That’s why there are no wild sheep! They need a shepherd they can trust to look after them.

This is why sheep need a good shepherd: Because the good shepherd is someone that lives with the sheep, he sleeps where they sleep, he is their owner, their provider, their leader, their doctor, their protection… he is everything to the sheep. And the sheep follow this shepherd because they trust the him, they know his voice, and he leads them in safety.

Psalm 23 is one of the most famous psalms in the Bible because it uses this same imagery to show how God is a shepherd that we can trust, who leads us to green pastures, and beside still waters, and protects us even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death! Jesus is that good shepherd. he doesn’t lead us into harm and death, but into safety and a full life.

And Jesus is our good shepherd. We must obey him in every area, and share every area of our life with him. And why wouldn’t you want to follow a shepherd like Jesus?

  • Do you have a trusting personal relationship with God and will you let him lead you in life, life to the full?
    3. Life to the full is about forgiveness from God. 10:11-17

It is ridiculous that any shepherd would put his life on the line to protect a sheep. but Jesus does that for us. This is proof that he loves his sheep and cares for them. So if you were to ask Jesus “what are you doing up there on the cross”? His answer is: “for you, I do it for you. I pay in death and blood for you, my sheep”.

In verse 14 Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep…” Jesus knows every part of you, your sin and guilt, your darkest area of life, all the things you do behind closed doors, he knows, and still he lays down his life for you. He knows you to the bottom and loves you to the skies. That is life to the full, to be known, and to be lead, and to be forgiven and accepted by the good shepherd.

Knowing Jesus as our shepherd is about being in relationship with him, following his leadership, and accepting his forgiveness for our sins. Jesus is the good shepherd.

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