Sunday, March 31, 2024

"I Am The Good Shepherd" [Matt's Messages]

“I Am The Good Shepherd”
Life in Jesus’ Name - The Gospel of John
Resurrection Sunday :: Lanse Evangelical Free Church
March 31, 2024 :: John 10:14-21  

What did He say to get that kind of a reaction?

What did Jesus say to get the people around Him thinking that He must be insane? That he was stark raving mad. That He must have a demon inside of Him!

Verse 19 says, “At these words the Jews were again divided.”

Some thought that Jesus made a lot of sense and was a great miracle-worker. He had just given sight to a man who had been born blind.

But others heard these words that Jesus said about Himself and thought, “This guy is ‘Cukoo for Cocopuffs.’ This guy is not playing with a full deck. This guy is bonkers.” 

What did Jesus say to get that kind of a reaction?

This is what He said. It’s in verse 14. 

“I am the good shepherd.”

Now, obviously, that might sound weird but not crazy to us today.

Jesus likened Himself to a shepherd, a person who takes care of sheep. Jesus already said that in verse 11. We looked it together last Sunday. 

And He meant it as a criticism of the religious leaders of His day. They were supposed to be good shepherds, taking good care of God’s good flock (the people of God), but they were miserable failures and had done a horrific job of it.

Jesus likened their shepherding to being a hired hand who doesn’t care one whit about the sheep. They wouldn’t lift a finger to help the sheep if the flock was attacked. They’d just run away.

And that’s on their best day. On other days, they were like thieves and robbers who steal, kill, and destroy the sheep. Steal, kill, and destroy.

They were bad shepherds, but Jesus said that He was the Good Shepherd.

Now that word translated “good” doesn’t just mean “good.” Like 3 stars out of 5. “Not bad.” That’s not good enough.

The Greek word can also be translated, “beautiful” or “noble” or “true.”

It’s hard to get across, but it’s more like the “Perfect Shepherd.” Or the “Wonderful Shepherd.” Or the “Real Deal Shepherd.” “The Shepherd Par Excellence.”

Maybe, “The Goodest Shepherd?”

Is that a word? It is now!

This is the Shepherd that fulfills and embodies all of what a shepherd is supposed to be. “10/10 No Notes.”

If you’ve ever read the Twenty-third Psalm, “The LORD is my Shepherd / I shall not be in want,” and you see how King David felt about His Shepherd, that’s what Jesus is claiming to be here for His people. 

Because if He’s the Shepherd, then we are the sheep.

Today, Landen, Treiton, Keagan, Maria, and Katie are all going to get up on this platform and declare that they are Jesus’ sheep and that Jesus is their Good Shepherd.

It takes some humility to admit you are like a sheep. Because, as we said last Sunday and as I shared with the Egg Hunt families yesterday, sheep are kind of dumb. They are clueless and helpless and needy. It takes humility to admit that you are a sheep and you need someone to care for you, provide for you, protect you, lead you, and guide you and keep you from true harm.

But it’s true, right? We are needy, as people. We are spiritually helpless. We are clueless and need a good Shepherd to guide us.

And that’s what Jesus says that He is. 

Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd.”

And in this passage (verses 14-17), Jesus says three big things about what that means for us, that He is the good shepherd. How He takes shepherding to a whole new level. Here’s the first one:


We heard that last Sunday, too, up in verse 3, 4, and 5. Jesus said that His sheep will hear His voice as He calls to them by name, and that they won’t follow a stranger’s voice.

Now look how He says in verse 14 and 15: “‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–just as the Father knows me and I know the Father...”

Isn’t that wonderful?! Jesus says that He knows His sheep. That means personally. He doesn’t just know that He has some sheep on a hillside somewhere. He knows our names. He knows our lives. He knows our hearts. He knows our hurts. He knows our joys. He knows our sorrows. He knows our needs.

He knows our sins.

If you are Jesus’ sheep, then Jesus knows you. He knows you intimately. And He knows what’s going on in your life that is hard right now. He knows what you’re struggling with. He is your good shepherd.

In that day, a lot sheep were kept for wool. Some were for sacrifice and some for mutton, but most were just for wool. So the sheep might live a long time and have the same shepherd that knew them inside and out for their whole life.

If you are Jesus’ sheep, then Jesus knows you.

And you know Jesus! This is an invitation to become intimately acquainted with your Savior, with your Shepherd. To know Jesus. 

And look at how deeply we can know Him! Verse 15 says, “just as the Father knows me and I know the Father!” That’s an unbelievable amount of knowing! That we could know Jesus in some way like God the Father knows God the Son and God the Son knows God the Father. That is just mind-blowing!

The Good Shepherd knows His sheep.

He knows Landen, Treiton, Keagan, Maria, and Katie.

And today, they proclaim that they know Him!

Do you know Him?

Jesus is the good shepherd.


He doesn’t just know them. He loves them. And here’s how much He loves them. He sacrifices Himself for them. Look at verse 15.

“‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

Now, that is taking shepherding to a whole other level. And you can begin to see why it sounds a little crazy. Because a sheep is worth far less than a shepherd. Shepherds could take some risks to protect the flock. They were valuable. But if the choice is save the sheep or save your life, “Goodbye, Sheepie!”

But Jesus says that as our Good Shepherd, He plans to “lay down” his life “for the sheep.”

What’s He talking about? He’s talking about the Cross. He’s talking about how He was going to be nailed to a piece of wood and hung up on pole. And struggle to breathe for three hours and then die.

Why? He was laying down His life for His sheep.

The Bible says that, 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” (Isa. 53:5-6 NIVO).

The Good Shepherd saves His sheep by laying down His life for them, in the place of His sheep.

That’s what brings us into life! 

Last week, Jesus said that He is “the Gate,” that is, He is the way into life, eternal life, life to the fullest. 

And we get that life by believing in Him, by putting our trust in Him as our way in.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son [who laid down His life for the sheep], that whoever [sheep] believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16 NIVO).

Is that you? Jesus is on the hunt for new sheep to be in His sheepfold. Look at verse 16.

“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.” [That’s Him! See also Ezekiel 34 for more on that promise!]

I love this verse, because you and I are in it. Jesus is talking about us.

"I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. [Meaning of the Jews. Jesus has other sheep that are Gentiles. That are not the group in front of Him that day.] I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd."

There’s a sheep pen over here in Israel in the year 0033 or whatever. And there’s another over here in central Pennsylvania in the year 2024.

And Jesus says, “I’m not content with just these sheep. I’m looking for a bigger flock. Other sheep. “I must bring them also.” 

That’s us! Like I told the families at the Egg Hunt, Jesus isn’t just searching for eggs. He’s looking for lost sheep to bring them into His sheepfold and give them life to full. And He will rejoice over them when they come. “Rejoice with me!”

Verse 16. “They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

Today, Landen, Treiton, Keagan, Maria, and Katie, are proclaiming that they have listened to Jesus’ voice and been brought into His one sheepfold.

How about you?

He has laid down His life for you! And the Father loves Him for it. Look at verse 17.

“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life...”
Now, that doesn’t mean it’s the only reason why the Father loves the Son. He loves the Son just because He’s the Son.

But He is such a good Son! The Father always looks at Jesus and says, “Oh how pleased I am with my beloved Son!

Look how obedient He is!
Look how submissive He is!
Look how He accomplishes His mission!

I am so pleased with Him.

Look at Him lay down His life for those sheep we love!"

Sometimes we can get the idea that the Father and the Son were in conflict with one another about our salvation. Like the Father hated us but the Son stepped in the way to save us from His meanness. But that’s not quite right. Remember John 3:16 says that God so loved the world that He gave His Son. He sent His Son. They were working in perfect unity to save us from the just wrath of God. And so at the very same time as the Son in His humanity was feeling the hot righteous anger of God poured out upon Him on the Cross, the Father was also saying, “That’s my boy!”

“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again.”

Now that is taking shepherding to yet another level!

It’s one thing for a shepherd to take a risk for a sheep.
It’s another thing for a shepherd to die for a sheep.
But this shepherd says that He is going to come back from the dead for His sheep!


Here’s the idea: A dead shepherd is not a good shepherd.

What good is it to have a dead shepherd? If the shepherd is dead, where does that leave the flock? The sheep are in trouble if the shepherd is dead.

How would Psalm 23 read?

“My shepherd is dead. I will never have what I need. 
I can’t find the green pastures. I can’t find the quiet waters.
My soul is destroyed.
I’m lost. I can’t find the paths of righteousness.
I’m all alone in the valley of the shadow of death.
I fear every evil.
I have no comfort.
I have no blessings.
I can’t eat. My enemies are after me.
My head is cracked and dry.
My cup is empty.
Surely evil and disloyal hatred will chase me all of the days of my life, and I’m headed to Hell forever.

Because my shepherd is dead.”

That’s what would happen to us if Jesus stayed dead.

But Jesus said that He would lay down His life “only to take it up again.” That could be translated, “so that” He would take it up again. He died in such a way as to earn a victorious resurrection. Jesus claimed that He had the authority to do this. 

No one was doing it to Him. V.18 “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord [willingly]. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Yes, the Jews put Him to death. Yes, the Romans put Him to death. Yes, it was our sin that held Him there. But in the end, it was His choice and no other human’s. He had the right to lay it down and the right to take it up again.

And He did both! On the third day, He rose again.

Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!

He is no longer a dead shepherd. He is a living shepherd. An unstoppably living shepherd. He has conquered death.

The choir sang, “Death is conquered! We are free! Christ has won the victory!”

The kids sang, “Alive! Alive!”

Our good shepherd is alive again and forever.

That, I think, is what they thought was crazy. That this guy was claiming to be the kind of good shepherd that not only dies for His sheep but comes back to life. “At these words the Jews were again divided. Many of them said, ‘He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?’ But others said, ‘These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?’”

What do you think? Which side are you on? Do you think He’s crazy? Or are you listening to Him?

Landen, Treiton, Keagan, Maria, and Katie have decided that they believe that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who knows them, laid down His life for them, and took up His life again for them, so they have listened to His voice and come into His one flock, by faith.

Praise God!


Messages in this Series

01. "That You May Believe" - John 20:30-31
02. "In The Beginning Was the Word" - John 1:1-18
03. "John's Testimony" - John 1:19-34
04. "Come and See" - John 1:35-51
05. "The First of His Miraculous Signs" - John 2:1-11
06. "This Temple" - John 2:12-25
07. "You Must Be Born Again" - John 3:1-15
08. "God So Loved The World" - John 3:16-21
09. "Above All" - John 3:22-36
10. "Living Water" - John 4:1-26
11. "Ripe for the Harvest" - John 4:27-42
12. "Your Son Will Live" - John 4:43-54
13. "Pick Up Your Mat and Walk" - John 5:1-18
14. "To Your Amazement" - John 5:19-30
15. "Testimony About Me" - John 5:31-47
Christmas Eve Bonus: "The Astonishing Gift" - John 3:16 Again
Christmas Eve Bonus: "We Have Seen His Glory" - John 1:1-18 Again
16. "Enough Bread" - John 6:1-15
17. "You Are Looking for Me" - John 6:16-36
18. "I Am the Bread of Life" - John 6:35-71
Vision Meeting Bonus: "As I Have Loved You" - John 13:34-35
19. "At the Feast" - John 7:1-52
20. "I Am the Light of the World" - John 8:12-30
21. "Your Father" - John 8:31-59
22. "Now I See" - John 9:1-41
23. "I Am The Gate" - John 10:1-13