Week 14, John 10 Hook

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1 Week 14, John 10 Hook Current Event: In Palestine today, it is still possible to witness a scene that Jesus almost certainly saw 2,000 years ago, that of Bedouin shepherds bringing their flocks home from the various pastures they have grazed during the day. Often those flocks will end up at the same watering hole around dusk, so that they get all mixed up together eight or nine small flocks turning into a convention of thirsty sheep. Their shepherds do not worry about the mix-up, however. When it is time to go home, each one issues his or her own distinctive call a special trill or whistle, or a particular tune on a particular reed pipe, and that shepherd's sheep withdraw from the crowd to follow their shepherd home. They know whom they belong to; they know their shepherd's voice, and it is the only one they will follow. 1 Discussion Questions: Why do think God chose to use the illustration of a shepherd and sheep? In the passage we are going to look at today, Jesus says that His sheep will know His voice. What does He mean by this? 1 Barbra Brown Taylor, The Preaching Life (Plymouth: Cowley, 1993), p 147.

2 John 10 Book Text Summary: As Jesus explains to His audience that He is like a shepherd and those who follow Him are like His sheep, the crowd is confused and doesn t understand the language. He continues to explain that He cares for His people just as a shepherd cares for his sheep. He goes on to say that His love for His sheep will culminate in the voluntary sacrifice of His life for them. Also in these verses, Jesus comes into more dialogue with the Jews about his identity. Jesus tries to show them, once again, that He has come to do the work of His Father who is in Him and He in His Father. John 10:1 21 (Read) Sub Application: Know and trust Jesus voice. Jesus states that He is the Good Shepherd. Those who belong to Him listen to His voice. A little bit of background knowledge is necessary to understand the full picture of this example that Jesus is painting. Sheep were a prominent feature in this society, and although they grazed during the day, they were contained in pens at night. The sheep pens were for their protection and featured stone walls all the way around. The only proper way into this pen was through the gate, which was a single opening at one section of this stone structure. The gate was for the shepherd. As Jesus continues, He says that the sheep know His voice. They do not know the voice of strangers or anyone else. Just as sheep know the shepherd s voice, so too do God s children know His voice. Throughout the Old Testament, God communicated with His people through the Law and the prophets. The people listened to His voice by the way they lived their lives, meaning [people] listened to God s voice by living in conformity with His revealed will. At the present time (from the perspective of the earthly Jesus), those who desire to follow God should do so by listening to Jesus words and by obeying his commandments. Any voice other than the Shepherd s is a thief and robber. Jesus says that many have come before Him. Many have attempted to lead His sheep astray. But Jesus words are different. He expresses that He came to give, while others have come to take. Jesus comes to bring life; others have come to steal it. A deeper understanding of shepherds in Jesus culture is helpful here. The shepherds during the time and around the region of Jesus weren t like shepherds of the west who herd sheep and drive them from behind using a dog. Much different than this, the shepherds of the Near East, both now and in Jesus day, lead their flocks, their voice calling them on. That such a shepherd

3 goes ahead of his sheep and draws them constitutes an admirable picture of the master/disciple relationship. The sheep follow simply because they know his voice. There s a stark difference between the hired hands and the shepherd, especially this one. Hired hands care nothing for the sheep, because the sheep are not their own. They are merely looking after them and caring for them, making sure they are not killed or wander off into danger. This is similar to religious leaders and priests. They watch over the people but the people are far from theirs. Jesus is the shepherd who has come to be with His people and give His life for them. He is not just a hired hand, for the sheep are His. Jesus will save His sheep by sacrificing for them. Here in these verses is a natural language of sacrifice and this is clearly a hypothetical sacrificial love, which will soon become reality. In reality, what instance would cause the shepherd to have to die for the sheep? Perhaps to protect them from large, dangerous animals? As D. A. Carson says, the death of shepherds for such reason must have been fairly rare, and even then it would never be the intention of the shepherd to die. That would leave his flock entirely exposed. But by the strong language he uses, he points beyond the metaphorical world to himself. He does not merely risk his life, he lays it down, in line with the Father s will. Far from being accidental, Jesus death is precisely what qualifies him to be the good shepherd And by his death, far from exposing the flock to further ravages, he draws them to himself. 2 What does Jesus mean when He explains that if the sheep do not know His voice they are not His sheep? What is the difference between a shepherd and a hired hand (verses 11 15)? What qualifies Jesus as the Good Shepherd? How has Jesus provided for His sheep? How does someone listen to the voice of Jesus? What would you tell someone who claims they have not heard from the Lord recently? John 10:22-42 (Read) Sub Application: Follow Jesus voice. Jesus is confronted by the Jews who ask Him if He is the Christ; He answers in the affirmative. Jesus claims that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. Tension continues to mount surrounding Jesus identity. People in this passage demand an answer from Jesus concerning who He is. But He says He has already told them by the works and signs He has done. And it is for these that Jews pick up stones? No. Verse 33 shows us that they attempt to stone Jesus because He claims to be God. They see Him as a man, know Him as a man, and know where He 2 D. A. Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel According to John. Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, 1990, p. 386.

4 grew up. The idea that Jesus could be divine is preposterous to them. More than that, for them it s blasphemy. Jesus tells them to look to His works to see that the Father is in Him. He gives them an option, as if there is one, and says that if these signs He does aren t from the Father, then don t believe them. Jesus says don t worry about Me. Look to these works that I do. Don t worry about My words; worry about My works. He says, Let them give evidence about who I am. And in these works, see that they are of God. He says believe the things He does so that these Jewish leaders may understand that Jesus is from God, and is God. We see at the end of this passage that many come to believe in the Good Shepherd by way of His signs and the testimony of John concerning Him. It s interesting that at the end, belief comes from hearing and seeing. Are independent people necessarily strong people? Are dependent people necessarily weak? How would you respond to someone who claims that being labeled a sheep who follows a Shepherd is a negative thing? Why does Jesus direct the Jews attention to His works and away from His words? How do Jesus works and His signs show the truth about who He truly is and whose He is? What does the term perseverance of the saints mean (once saved, always saved)? How do verses 28 and 29 relate to that idea?

5 Week 14, John 10 Took In Today s Culture: Society today has much to say about this topic. We don t have to look very far to find people who love to tell Christians that there is no way they can be sure that what God is telling them is really God. There are people all over the world who say that the Bible can be interpreted in many different ways. There s no real way that you can know that you are hearing from God. John MacArthur says, It's interesting that a shepherd's sheep will not, even though the false shepherd speaking physically, would imitate the voice of the shepherd, the true shepherd, they won't follow him, they become so aware of their own shepherd's voice. Just like your dog if you've had him for a long time knows your voice. And they follow only their shepherd. 3 Class Discussion: How can we better discern the voice of our shepherd? (by hiding his words, Scripture, in our heart so that we recognize His voice) What changes can you make this week to continue to hide God s Word in your heart? Challenge: By hearing the voice of our shepherd and by committing to follow Him, we can see that He is good and has our best interests at heart. The question for your class must then must be: Have you been hearing the voice of your Shepherd lately? If not, the challenge for them this week is to spend quality time studying His Word so that they can better recognize His voice. 3 John MacArthur, The Good Shepherd.

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