In John 10:7-18 Jesus makes a bold statement, as He proclaims to be the true shepherd of Israel and the only way to God.
The Pharisees refused to accept this because they saw themselves as “the” shepherds of Israel and unwilling to surrender that position to Jesus.
Character defines leadership not charisma. Having the desire to lead is a good thing but it requires more than charm and good intention. Yet in the first century, we find many with ideas but not the character to lead.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36
In 1 Timothy 2, Paul instructs the Christians to pray for leaders, both spiritual and civil and everything in between. So instead of criticizing your Pastor, local Officials, Representatives, Senators, Governors or President, pray for them and ask God to give them wisdom.
Jesus begins by saying, “Truly, truly,” which was a phrase meant to get the attention of His audience. It prepared the listener that what is said next is critical to understand.
Before things can change, things must be exposed.
Jesus exposes how those who have come before Him were thieves and robbers. This charge is aimed at the Pharisees for failing to direct the people to God and not about how great they are.
They prided themselves on knowing the law of God, yet the God of the law was in front of them and they did not recognize Him.
To counter the lack of leadership, Jesus gives two illustrations to demonstrate what a good leader should look like.
#1 I am the door.
This may sound like an odd illustration but to the original audience it was clear. This metaphor has two specific applications. As the door, He assumes the role of protector of the sheep.
When caring for sheep there were two kinds of pens in which they would be corralled. One sheep-pen would be built within a city or village and contained multiple flocks at one time.
The second kind of sheep pen was in the countryside. This pen would be a circular rock wall with a single open for the sheep to go in and out. At night the shepherd would sleep in the opening acting as a door, keeping the sheep from wandering away or a predator from entering the opening.
This metaphor also demonstrated that there was only one way in or out through the shepherd, the door. In John 14:6, Jesus says “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
There are benefits in this life that come with having a relationship with Jesus. He said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” The Greek word translated as abundantly is “perrissos” and is defined as “that which goes way beyond necessity.”
The life that Jesus gives is more than we deserve, beyond what we need!
This is why sin is compared to darkness. Darkness keeps us from seeing and experiencing this abundant life. Sin wants to distract you, blind you and control you, to keep you from a life that goes way beyond necessity.
Which sin could compete with this abundant life?
All sin robs you of life in both quality and quantity.
#2 I am the good shepherd.
The word “good” comes from the Greek word “kalos” and it means excellent, good as to quality and character.
The good shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to search for the one who has wandered away.
Jesus makes Himself your shepherd to lead and guide you through life. There is never a moment when He is not with you.
But wait, there’s more!
“And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.” John 10:16
The Hebrews viewed themselves as belonging to God alone. But Jesus’ statement dispels the misunderstanding and explains that there are other’s who are going to be a part of His fold; That’s you and me, Gentiles!
You have been given a divine invitation to know God personally and individually! He invites you to enter without judgment or condemnation!
“17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17
No matter how bad you’ve blown it, or how often you have, no matter how distant you feel from God today, Jesus invites you to exchange all of that for an abundant and eternal life.