John 10:11 - The Fourth I AM; Jesus is The Good Shepherd.
John 10:11 - The Fourth I AM; Jesus is The Good Shepherd.
John 10:11 (ESV) I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays
down his life for the sheep.
One of the distinctives of the Gospel of John is its series of
"I am" sayings of Jesus. Their significance is underlined in 8:58,
in which Jesus announces that "before Abraham was born, I am!" His
hearers understood the implicit claim, for they knew full well that "I
am" is the Greek equivalent of YHWH, Yahweh, the revelatory and
personal name of God that vitalizes the Old Testament. What are the "I
am" statements in John, and how do they display the deity that Jesus
* "I am the bread of life" (6:35). Jesus is the One who sustains
physical and spiritual life.
* "I am the Light of the World" (8:12). Jesus is the source of
* "I am the Gate for the sheep" (10:7). Jesus provides access to
God and salvation.
* "I am the Good Shepherd" (10:11). Jesus lays down His life for
us, His sheep.
* "I am the Resurrection and the Life" (11:25). Jesus is the
source and giver of life eternal.
* "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life" (14:6). Jesus alone
provides access to God the Father and all of the Father's good gifts to
* "I am" the true vine (15:1). Jesus is the source of spiritual
vitality. By remaining close to Him we are enabled to bring forth fruit
and so glorify God. [Victor Bible Background Commentary mod]
The Good Shepherd and His Sheep: John 10:1-21.
After the clashes between Jesus and the Jews, John 10 gives
way to Jesus' expressions of care and protection.
At night, sheep were often gathered into a sheepfold. The
sheepfolds were caves, sheds, or pens fenced in by stones or branches. The
shepherd often slept in the doorway to protect the sheep. The shepherd
functioned as a gate, letting the sheep in and protecting them from
thieves, weather, or wild animals.
Some resent that Jesus is the gate, the only access into
God's sheepfold. But this also means that Jesus is our only protector.
We do not need to trust anyone else to guard another gate. A hired
hand would not be as committed to God's people as Christ is.
Jesus is also the Good Shepherd who cares for and protects
his flock. He is the gate into the community of God's people. He
provides safety and security from the thieves, weather, and wild animals
that threaten to harm God's people. We can rest safely in God's good
power. [One Year NLT SB re John 10:6-16]
The Good Shepherd, The Great Shepherd, And The Chief Shepherd:
God is often pictured as a shepherd, gently caring for and
guiding his flock.... He is called a shepherd (Psalm 23); the good
shepherd (John 10:11, 14); the great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20); and the
Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). [The One Year Bible Companion re
What is the difference between the good shepherd in John 10:11,
the great shepherd in Hebrews 13:20, and the chief shepherd in 1
Peter 5:4? The good shepherd died for his sheep, the great shepherd
conforms the sheep to his image, and the chief shepherd is coming again
with his reward for the sheep. The good shepherd's work is finished,
the great shepherd's work is in the present, and the chief
shepherd's work is in the future. [The One Year Bible Companion re John
As the Good Shepherd, Christ gave His life for His sheep and
became the door to God's fold (v. 7); as the Great Shepherd (Heb.
13:20-21), He rose from the dead to care for His sheep; as Chief Shepherd
(1 Peter 5:4), He will come again for His sheep. [Ryrie SB]
The "good shepherd" is a unique designation, for it emphasizes
the willingness of the shepherd to die for his sheep. A "hired man"
will care for the sheep only so long as it is profitable or safe. The
good shepherd who values the sheep for themselves will lay down his
life for them. In fact, it is in this, the laying down of his life,
that the goodness of the shepherd is established. If it seems foolish
to think of a man being willing to die for mere animals, however
great his affection for them, remember this. There is a far greater
gap between God and human beings than there is between human beings
and sheep! The amazing goodness of God is fully displayed in this
awesome wonder: Jesus loved us enough to lay down His life for us. If
you ever feel like a little lost sheep, alone and frightened in a
dark and hostile world, remember the Good Shepherd. You can know He
loves you because He laid down His life for you. He who loved you this
much will never desert you. In Jesus you are never, ever, alone. [The
365-Day Devotional Commentary]
Jesus is the Good Shepherd
A shepherd's job is difficult. He is constantly on guard,
watching over his flock of sheep day and night. He protects them when
predators try to attack or thieves try to steal them away. The shepherd is
at times tender and loving, and at other times he is strong and
forceful. But at all times he is focused on the best interests of the
We, of course, are like sheep. Sheep are vulnerable, rather
dumb, and tend to wander away. They can be hardheaded and stubborn.
Sound familiar? We often think we know what is best for us, but
invariably we end up in trouble. Jesus, the good shepherd, watches out for
us. He speaks our name as he calls us back to safety. And he
willingly gave up his life for us in order to give us "a rich and
satisfying life" (10:10). If you find yourself off the path or in a fix,
just call out to Jesus. Then stay close - follow where he leads, stay
where he rests, and respond to his voice. There you will find safety.
[The One Year Bible for New Believers re John 10:1-16]
"I am your shepherd. Few people in your society know what
that really means; you aren't familiar with the life of a shepherd.
But I want you to know that I sleep where you sleep. I lead you -
even drive you - where you need to go. Unless you willfully reject
Me, I make sure you don't stray too far from the path, though I let
you wander freely within My pastures. When you get stuck in a ditch,
I pull you out. When you fall into a ravine, I rescue you and heal
your wounds. Without Me, you would wander aimlessly, scrounge for
food wherever you happened upon it, and be vulnerable to predators
all around you. You wouldn't survive. I spend My days and nights
with you because it is My responsibility to care for you. You can't
take care of yourself. You need Me.
"I like that arrangement. I enjoy shepherding. I develop a
relationship with My sheep and teach you to recognize My voice above all
others. You don't know the significance of all the places I take you or
even why I take you there, but you can trust Me to guide you well. I
may correct your course, but I don't punish you harshly. You're
sheep, after all. If you understood - if you saw the landscape as I do
- you would never stray. But you don't, and you can't - not from
your perspective. I know your weaknesses and am patient with you,
much more patient than you are with yourself.
"You need to understand that sheep don't worry about the
future, obsess about their mistakes, or strategize their lives. And if
you knew the heart of this Shepherd, you wouldn't either. Sheep
follow. That's all I'm asking you to do."
Jesus, I know I can trust my Shepherd. You've proven that You
will go to extremes to care for me. Help me follow You well. [The One
Year Experiencing God's Presence Devotional by Chris Tiegreen]
If Jesus willingly gave His life to save ours, how can we think
He would ever keep back from us anything that would truly benefit
us? [Life Principles SB By Charles Stanley re John 10:11]
EXCELLENT VIDEO SERIES ON EXPERIENCING GOD:
EXCELLENT BIBLE PROPHECY SERIES BY DR RON CLOUZET:
SPECIAL MUSICAL DEVOTIONAL ON CHRISTIAN LIVING:
[Be sure and listen to the first devotional thought about 2-3
minutes into the tape to get an idea of the blessings in this series.]