John 10:7-15 True Shepherd or Not?
So Jesus said to them again, “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 hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:7-9
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of 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 is not concerned about the sheep. John 10:10-13
He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” John 10:13-15
After healing the blind man, Jesus was accused by the Jews for performing work on Sabbath Day. The Jews’ uncompassionate attitude towards the man’s healing provided an opportunity for Jesus to teach the people to discern between a true shepherd and a hired hand. Using the common icons of shepherd and hired hand, He wanted to equip the people to be wise and discern the leaders not through their teachings alone but more importantly through their actions.
1. John 10:7-9: “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” Jesus taught that He is the door or passageway to the household of God. Anyone who claims to know another way to God other than Christ is there to rob and to destroy. However, those who are sheep (those who fear God) would recognize that deception. Therefore, if anyone acknowledges Jesus as Lord will enter into the sheepfold and live abundantly.
2. John 10:10-13: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life.” Jesus described the nature of the shepherd and the hired hand. The agenda of the hired hand is to exploit the sheep for his personal benefit. However, the shepherd comes to bless and protect the sheep even at the expense of his own life. The true nature of the leader will be revealed in the face of trouble. A hired hand will seek to protect himself with no regard for safety of the sheep. The sheep are but instruments for his personal advancement. Whereas the shepherd would place the interests of the sheep above his own.
3. John 10:13-15: “I know My own and My own know Me.” The shepherd knows the uniqueness of each of his sheep and loves each one intimately. The sheep recognize the shepherd as their protector and guide and put their complete trust in Him. This relationship is mirrored in the way the Father knows and loves Jesus and how Jesus trusts and obeys the Father. The relationship between sheep and shepherd is based on perfect love where the shepherd lays down his life for the sheep and the sheep trust the shepherd completely.
We must be watchful to reject the voice of fear and remember God’s promises.
Those who hear His voice and obey Him would never have to for a moment fear the dangers that befall them. The Spirit of the Shepherd is with us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. He never leaves us even for a fraction of a second. Psalm 23 says,
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
The first thing is to draw near to the voice of the true Shepherd by reading His Word and sensing His presence daily. This requires discipline and watchfulness to actively reject the voice of anxiety and fear. The devil deceives and corners us into venturing away from the flock. He attacks us when we are alone. Hence, every believer must continue to maintain fellowship with the church and to worship God on Sabbath Day.
A person can be a shepherd even when he is not in a position of authority.
In our daily endeavors, we take the roles of sheep and shepherd in our church, family and workplace. A shepherd is one who has other people’s interests at heart, who guides others with wisdom. God is speaking to the flock and guiding them through His shepherds. Nevertheless, a shepherd may be young in age but pure and wise at heart. A shepherd in the workplace helps others grow while advancing the vision of the company. A hired hand is one who exploits others for his own benefit.
The shepherd takes a genuine interest in the people around him.
Make an effort to know the people in your church, workplace by name, and be genuinely interested in them. In the context of the workplace, people have feelings, aspirations, and come from different backgrounds. They are precious in God’s sight, not warm bodies that help generate profits for the owners. However, people always flock towards those they can get something out of and stay away from those who could give them no benefit. I knew a tea lady who worked in one company for 20 years but only three people knew her name: the human resource manager, the security guard and the supplier delivery man.
1. We must hear the voice of the Shepherd on a daily basis. We must read the bible and converse with Him, not only as an individual but also as a community. Sabbath Day worship is the time when believers gather to hear the voice of the Shepherd collectively and to worship Him.
2. Make every effort to listen and understand the people around you. Be quick to listen and slow to speak. Listen between the lines and feel what people are saying and empathize with them. The world has no lack of speakers, but listeners are few to come by.
3. Cherish and support those who are in authority, especially those who are true shepherds. Those who are in positions of authority needed the support of the people. They are usually lonely people who have no one to share with who would not judge them or take advantage of them. Perhaps, they too need a little shepherd of their own.
Dear Lord, I depend on You as my Shepherd and I do not have to fear whatever the circumstances may come as long as You are with me. Help me develop and protect the people who are entrusted to my care. Make me a shepherd and use me to bring other sheep into the flock. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.