I am the Good Shepherd
May 8, 2022
“I am the good shepherd.”
Jesus uses simple language to reveal profound truths.
I lay down my life for the sheep.
The scene passes from the confines of the sheep-pen to the big wide world outside.
Jesus introduces three new figures: the hired hand, the wolf, the sheep not of this fold.
The good shepherd will lay down his life for his sheep.
He has other sheep that are not of this fold.
He repeats this in verses 15, 17, and 18 of chapter 10. It is a point of emphasis.
“for” – the Greek word is huper. Here it means on behalf of or as a substitute for.
In John, huper is often associated with a sacrifice on behalf of someone else.
Jesus intentionally gives up His life for His sheep.
Verse 11 serves as the topic sentence for this passage.
The good shepherd is the opposite of what is said about the hired hand.
The shepherd IS the owner of the sheep.
When the wolf comes, the shepherd does not flee. He protects His sheep.
He is more concerned about the life of the sheep than he is about his own life.
This is a finely crafted sentence. It plays off the topic sentence in verse 11.
He inserts fresh material between the first and second part of the topic sentence.
The language is simple. The clauses are balanced. The truth is profound.
The Greek word for “know” here is ginosko.
To learn to know a person through direct personal experience, implying a continuity of relationship.
He has a close, intimate relationship with His sheep.
This reflects the close, intimate knowledge shared between the Father and the Son.
Jesus knows that His sheep need to be rescued from certain death.
They know that He is the only one who can save them.
The Father wants none of them to perish. Jesus knows the will of His Father.
The Father loves the Son. And Jesus knows this as well.
So Jesus must act.
11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
By “this fold” He means Israel.
Who are His other sheep who are not of this fold, ie, not of Israel?
He is also going to lay down His life for the Gentiles.
He will gather up both Jews and Gentiles and they shall be joined into one flock!
Here in John 10:16, Jesus is anticipating the church age.