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I am the Good Shepherd

00:00 / 18:04

21 Apr 2024

Third Sunday of Easter

John 10:11-18


-       Jesus claims to be ‘the good shepherd’ and implies that he is worth trusting and following.

-       Contrasts himself with the one who is ‘a hired hand’.

-       Let’s look at that comparison.

Firstly though…

-       What does the imagery of sheep and shepherd mean?

-       Christ talking about the way we orientate our lives and what influences our outlook.

-       Many unaware that their outlook is shaped by exterior factors.

-       In secular modern world, myth is that we create our own views, but we are in fact conditioned just like everyone else.

-       Traditional forms of conditioning: parents, schools, the Church, guilds of association.

-       Contemporary forms: government messaging/propaganda, media (esp. eg. the BBC), social media: eg ‘influencers’ – popular figures who set ideological and social trends.

-       If we do not understand where our influence is coming from, we will never be able to evaluate it.

-       If Christian, we may allow ungodly and/or damaging influences to affect us. These must be submitted to the Christian outlook.

Hired Hands and the Good Shepherd

1)    Hired Hands

‘He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd…’ John 10:12

‘Hired hand’ implies person in it for other reasons than care for the flock.

-       Here, money. Willing to work and receive pay but true concern for welfare of flock does not extend beyond this.

-       Context here could refer to ‘certain religious leaders who perform their duty well enough in normal times, always provided they are paid, but who never display personal care for the sheep’ (D.A. Carson, John, p.387).

-       Religious and political leaders often motivated by things other than money: fame, glory, acceptance by the Establishment, a place at the table.

o   Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (to himself), “Take care that you are not stained with the purple; for such things do come about” (Meditations Book VI.30). “Stained with the purple” = corrupted by power to care more about one’s own glory/fame/riches over one’s duty and cultivation of one’s own soul.

-       Question is, then: does this person really care or is he just in it for his own gain?

(The hired hand) sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees…He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.” John 10:13

-       When danger comes, the shepherd flees, leaving the sheep to suffer.

-       Ultimate sign of hireling heart: unwilling to risk, to suffer.

-       Some religious leaders today: Does what they say cost them? Easy to talk about things that will be celebrated by others. Harder to speak truly prophetically about post-Christian elements of Western culture and trajectories.

2)    The Good Shepherd

How is Jesus different? Why should you trust him and allow him to shape your outlook?

Christ cares for his own sheep. “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me” (John 10:14).

-       The good shepherd cares for each individually. He is concerned with you personally.

-       Contrast with misery caused by political collectivisms that see individuals as only part of group and therefore expendable in cause of utopian dream of perfect society. “You have to break eggs in order to make an omelette!” – Vladimir Lenin

-       Christ cares for the individual soul. Care for each person cannot be thrust aside for collective vision.

-       This is why we, in the Church, care for each person, regardless of situation, age, abilities, etc. “No passengers” is not a godly outlook.

Christ is transparent and honest. “I know my own and my own know me” (John 10:14).

-       Contrast with ‘Yes, Minister’ style politicking.

-       Christ has revealed himself to us openly and honestly: “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).

-       No hidden agenda, no ulterior motive. Christ is who he says he is. What you see is what you get.

-       We should be like this too: what you see is what you get.

Christ laid down his life for the sheep. “…I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:17-18).

-       Ultimate test of shepherd’s credentials: will he put himself in harm’s way? Will he suffer loss for the sheep?

-       Christ not an unwilling victim, but chose to give his life in sacrifice to save his sheep.

Finally, the resurrection…

-       Death of Christ alone not much use for sheep. Christ took up his life again and so guides and protects the flock.


-       Poses question of who are we going to trust in this world? I would suggest a healthy degree of scepticism regarding political philosophies and ideologies, media agendas, the government, internet influencers, things of this sort.

-       Trust Christ. He cares for each one of you. He tells you the truth. He was willing to suffer and die for you. Listen to the voice of the good shepherd.

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