Signed Jesus – Message #6 – May 18, 2003
How to be Protected
In John chapter 10 Jesus contrasts Himself with the
persons who were the leaders of the Jewish religion.
In v.11 He says, "I am the Good Shepherd.” What
prompted Jesus to take on the title of the Good
Shepherd? To fully understand the meaning of this
title, we must look at the events of John chapter 9.
In John 9:1-7 Jesus heals a man blind from birth. The
Pharisees object to the man giving credit to Jesus for
his healing (v.8-17). He tells them that he thinks
Jesus is a prophet. They become incensed and
accuse him of never having been blind. They even
interrogate his parents to see if he was born blind
When neither the man nor his parents will deny that
he was blind, the Pharisees say to the man, "Give
glory to God…We know this man [Jesus] is a
sinner." The man replies, "Whether He is a sinner
or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was
blind but now I see!" (v.24-25)
When the Pharisees deny that Jesus was from God,
the formerly blind man exclaims, ”Now that is
remarkable! You don't know where He comes
from, yet He opened my eyes.  We know that
God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the
godly man who does His will.  Nobody has
ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born
blind.  If this man were not from God, He could
This statement so incenses the Pharisees that they
excommunicate, kick the man out of the Temple
It is against this backdrop that Jesus contrasts His
dealings with the flock (God’s people) to the
Pharisees dealings with them. Notice what Jesus
I. The Shepherd’s Work
A shepherd’s work involves sheep! Up to two
hundred times in the Bible, God’s people are referred
to as sheep. Now think of the magnitude of all the
things that God created, and let me ask you a
question. “Why does God call us sheep?” God
could have called us many wonderful things –
powerful horses, soaring eagles, mighty lions.
Instead He calls us SHEEP!
Have you ever heard of an athletic team with the
name “sheep.” Sports teams names usually are
either strong men (Vikings, Patriots, Cowboys,
Redskins), or ferocious animals (Lions, Jaguars,
Bears). Never sheep! “How about the St. Louis
Rams?” Well, a ram is not a sheep. Get too close
to one and you’ll understand the difference.
Steve Farrar (Gettin’ There, p.166-167) lists several
universal truths about sheep.
A. Sheep are stupid. When you go to the circus you
can see trained animal acts made up of elephants,
lions, tigers, dogs, horses but you never see an act of
trained sheep! Why? Because sheep can‘t be trained
to do anything. They’re stupid!
B. Sheep are dirty. Sheep cannot clean themselves.
They have very heavy coats of wool that contain oil
called lanolin. When their coats come into contact
with the ground the combination of the wool and the
lanolin attract burrs, grass, bugs, dirt. Sheep get very
C. Sheep are weak. They are not strong animals.
They falter easily and are unsure of their footing.
Have you ever seen a “Beware of Sheep” sign posted
on a gate? Have you ever see a wide-eyed animal
fleeing for its life from a bleating lamb? Sheep are too
weak to be dangerous.
D. Sheep are defenseless. Sheep, unlike most
animals, cannot protect themselves. They can’t bark,
they can’t claw, they can’t bite, they can’t do anything!
There have actually been incidents of ravens and
crows landing on a sheep’s head and plucking out its
eyes. They are defenseless. They need a shepherd to
take care of them.
And God refers to us as sheep! Yes and with good
reason! A sheep’s best defense is to stay close to the
shepherd and to remain with the flock. If a sheep
wanders away it is in big trouble. It’s too dumb to find
its way home and too weak to defend itself. It needs a
shepherd to protect and care for it. And so do we!
• We are too dumb to find God on our own, He
must find us.
• We are unable to keep ourselves morally
clean, He must cleanse us from our sins.
• We are too weak to walk the path of life. We
need the Good Shepherd to guide us.
• We are defenseless to ward off the attacks of
Satan. We need the Holy Spirit living within us
to strengthen us in the face of temptation.
That is why Isaiah wrote, “We all, like sheep, have
gone astray...” (Isaiah 53:6a).
Now it is not by accident that Jesus calls Himself the
“Good Shepherd.” In Greek there are two words for
• Agathos – the excellent quality of the thing –
“That’s a good dog.”
• Kalos – the moral quality which also contains
the thought of winsome, lovely, beauty – ”The
good doctor.” (William Barclay, The Gospel of John,
James Montgomery Boice declares that Jesus is the
“good, beautiful, winsome, lovely, attractive, true
and genuine Shepherd.”
II. The Shepherd’s Relationship to the Sheep
Jesus speaks of the relationship of the shepherd to
the sheep. It is the same relationship He has with us.
A. Leads the sheep (v.4) - ”When he has brought
out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his
sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
The shepherd walks in front of the sheep and faces
whatever dangers that may come. He puts himself
between his animals and the dangers and threats that
In the military the person who leads the column or
the platoon is said to take “the point.” This is
usually the most dangerous position. This soldier
will be the first to draw the fire of the sniper or the
gun emplacement and quite often as a result of
the danger he faces his fellow soldiers are warned
in time to escape without injury.
As the Good Shepherd, Jesus is on the point and has
gone ahead of you. What do you face tomorrow? Is it:
• The loss of employment – Jesus walked
through that for you yesterday.
• Chemotherapy – Jesus already went through
that for you last week.
• Sorrow, pain, suffering, death? He leads the
way through whatever adversity you face.
The fact is Jesus takes the point as our Good
Shepherd and walks ahead of us. “For we do not
have a high priest who is unable to sympathize
with our weaknesses, but we have one who has
been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet
was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
Notice also that the shepherd leads the sheep, he
does not drive them. Many years ago there was an
awesome television show called Rawhide. It was a
western about a cattle drive. For seven years Gil
Favor (the trail boss), Rowdy Yates (his right hand
man) and Wishbone (the cook) drove cattle
somewhere – never getting to the end of the drive.
Frankie Laine sang the theme song and it went
something like this.
Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’,
Though the streams are swollen,
Keep them doggies rollin’, Rawhide…
No time to understand ‘em,
Just ride and rope and brand ‘em,
Keep them doggies rollin’, Rawhide.
That’s not good news for if you’re a doggie! Stop to
think about it. “No time to understand ‘em, just ride
and rope and brand ‘em!” (Farrar, p.177) But we have
a Good Shepherd who leads us, He doesn’t drive
The Shepherd goes before us to face
what we face before we face it.
B. He knows the sheep (v.14 &16) - "I am the good
shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know
me… I have other sheep that are not of this
sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will
listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock
and one shepherd.”
The word “know” in those verses is more than an
intellectual knowledge, it is an intimate knowledge.
Our Shepherd knows our…
1. Names (v.3) - “The watchman opens the gate
for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls
his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
At night several shepherds would keep their sheep in
the same fold. In the morning to separate the sheep
the shepherds would walk in different directions and
call to their sheep. The sheep would recognize the
voice of their shepherd and move towards him. Now,
if by chance a sheep became confused, the shepherd
who knew his sheep would call his sheep by name.
My friend the Good Shepherd knows you, He calls to
you by name and asks you to follow Him.
2. Natures – While all sheep are alike in their
essential nature, each has its own distinctive
characteristics. A loving shepherd recognizes these
traits. One sheep may be afraid of high places,
another of dark shadows, another of moving waters.
The shepherd considers these special needs as he
tends to his flock.
Jesus knew each of His disciples personally
(impulsive Peter, hesitant Thomas, friendly Andrew)
and He knows you personally too!
3. Needs – Psalm 23 is a picture of a sheep looking
at its shepherd and describing how the shepherd met
its needs. (Warren Wiersbe, Be Alive, p.123-124) As sheep,
our Good Shepherd knows our need of…
a. Rest – “He makes me lie down in green
pastures” (v.2a). It does not say He lets me lie
down, but He makes me lie down. The shepherd will
sometimes force us to take the time to lie down in
the green grass (the situation) around us and look at
b. Refreshment - “He leads me beside quiet
waters” (2b). Sheep are deathly afraid of rushing
water because they can drowned easily. So the
shepherd takes them to or makes for them quiet
waters where they feel secure and find refreshment.
c. Restoration – “He restores my soul. He
guides me in paths of righteousness for His
name's sake” (v.3). Every night at twilight, a good
shepherd counts his sheep. He knows what can
happen to a wandering sheep after nightfall. So even
if only one sheep is missing, the shepherd goes out to
find it and restore it to the flock. (Farrar, p.176-181)
Where are you today? Have you wandered away from
the Good Shepherd? He wants to take you into His
arms and bring you back to the flock!
C. He dies for the sheep (v.11) - "I am the good
shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life
for the sheep.” A good shepherd will fight the bear or
the lion and put his own life on the line for the sheep.
In the OT the sheep died for the shepherd. The
shepherd would take the best, the strongest, the most
perfect male sheep in his flock and offer it as a
sacrifice for his sins. The sheep died for the
In the NT though it is the Shepherd who dies for the
sheep. Listen again to Isaiah 53:5-6, “But he was
pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed
for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us
peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are
healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way; and the
Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
The Good Shepherd died for you and me!
D. He rises from the dead for the sheep (v.17-18) -
“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down
my life - only to take it up again.  No one takes
it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I
have authority to lay it down and authority to take
it up again. This command I received from my
Father." The voluntary death of the Good Shepherd
is followed by His victorious resurrection. Yes Jesus
died on the cross, giving Himself for us. But on the
third day He arose from the dead and now He lives
forever for His sheep.
III. The Responsibility of the Sheep to the Shepherd
The responsibility of the sheep is two fold. The sheep
A. Trust the Good Shepherd – believe in Him.
B. Obey the Shepherd – listen to His voice (v.4). ”His
sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
The Shepherd does everything for His sheep. Since
we, God’s sheep. are to trust and obey the Shepherd,
it is well that He is the Good, the trustworthy,
Points to ponder:
Do you see Jesus as the Good Shepherd?
Have you trusted Jesus as your Good
Are you listening to and obeying His voice?