Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
John 10:1-11 (NIV)
The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 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. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Yesterday we began our study of the short letter of 1st John. (When you look up passages, keep in mind that the Bible has a longer book called ‘John,’ and a very short book called ‘1st John’ or ‘1 John.’ The Sunday sermons will cover the entire book of 1st John in the next 11 weeks. John begins his letter with a bold message: he and his friends actually have real fellowship with God, a kind of fellowship that was not possible before Jesus, and this fellowship gives us complete joy. (1 John 1:4). Today we turn to the Gospel of John for more on this subject. Jesus compares himself to false teachers. They are thieves and robbers, who say sweet sounding things that are actually false, in order to take our money, our hearts, and our lives. (Whenever we try to ‘buy’ happiness, we are a victim of these thieves and robbers.) Jesus leads us to true pasture, where we consume the things that give us fullness of joy. Joy is a complete sense of well-being that allows us to have hope no matter how difficult our circumstances. The joyful person sees and delights in the goodness of God even in terrible times. Unlike false teachers, we know that Jesus is doing everything for our own well-being, because he laid down his life for us. (v. 11)