The Shepherd Keeps His Sheep A Synopsis of the Sermon of 12 July 2020 On John 10:22-39
This is a synopsis, or quick review, of the sermon for July 12. I am only hitting the highlights of the message, not reproducing the entire sermon.
We are continuing on our study through the discourses of Jesus as recorded in John’s Gospel. Today we look at the discourse in John 10:22-38. Jesus is once again in Jerusalem. This time He in the city to observe the Jewish Festival of Dedications. We know this festival as Hanukkah. As Jesus is walking in the Colonnade of Solomon, to the south of the temple court, people begin to gather around Him. He is widely known as a popular teacher. As the crowd gathered, some of His detractors began to chide Him to tell if He really believed He was the Messiah. Their real intent is to discredit Him.
“How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly” (10:24). Jesus replies that He has told them, but they do not want to believe Him. He appeals to them to look at His miracles. No one has ever done so many miraculous signs, so this should prove He is who He says He is. He goes on to say, that the reason they do not believe Him, they are not His sheep.
He then launches into a discourse about “His sheep.” His purpose is not only to convict His critics of their error, but also to instruct His followers on the benefits of being part of His true flock of followers. As we endure the COVIS virus outbreak, the truths Jesus shares with His flock should be even more encouraging to us.
First His sheep hear and follow Him. Earlier in chapter 10, in His “Good Shepard” discourse, spoke of His sheep following Him, “because they know His voice” (10:4). Now He goes further by noting that He “knows His sheep” (10:25). The onus of following shifts from the sheep hearing and responding, to Jesus calling to and leading the sheep. In both passages, there is a personalness to this knowledge between the she & the Lord. In 10:3, He “calls His sheep by name;” in 10:27 He says, “I know my sheep and they follow me.” Please notice it is not “I know my flock,” but “I know my sheep.” Jesus knows each and every sheep in His flock.
It is easy to think we are only part of a large group. Christ cares about “His Church.” But notice the personalness of this knowledge. But Jesus knows about “_________________” (put your name in that blank). As we look around at our world. Many of us are reaching the stage of needing to be cared for, rather than being able to be as self-sufficient as we would like. Now we find ourselves home bound by the virus, which seems to be lasting longer than we anticipated. Then, on top of it all we are seeing the unrest in our nation. The tendency is to either believe God has forgotten all about us, or He really cannot care for us.
Jesus’ plea is for us to realize He is leading us now, just as He was in the good times. Jesus gives us “eternal life,” and we will never parish. This life is not all there is. Jesus promises us a better life that will not parish. And it is guaranteed.
“No one can snatch My sheep away from Me” is a paraphrase of Jesus’ comment (10:28). Then He wretches it up a notch or two by adding, “My Father . . . is greater then I, and no one can snatch them out of His hand” (10:29). Think of that, we are in Christ’s hand. No one can reach in and pull me out of Christs hand. Then Christ is in God’s hand. Now God is the greatest, and no on can possible put Christ out of God’s and, and we are in Christ’s hand who is in God’s hand. How safe can you be, despite old age, despite economic downturns, despite viruses, despite injustices, despite national unrest, despite world-wide catastrophes, despite anything!!! We are in the hand of Christ and He is in the hand of God the Father Himself.
And how do we get in His hand? Simply by believing in who He is and what He has done. Then all we do is follow.
His audience of skeptics were unmoved by His promises. They accused Him of blasphemy and took up stones to kill Him. So He asked them, “For which of [His good works] where they about to stone Him” (10:32). They replied, not for the works, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” (10:33).
And there is the crux of the entire matter. If we believe that Jesus is indeed the Christ (Christ is the Greek word for the Hebrew Messiah) of God, we are His sheep. If we do not, we, in our own way stand ready to stone Him. The decision is ours, will we follow or run in the opposite direction.