Brookwood Church - Love God, Love People



Perry Duggar |

Jesus illustrates the protection He offers by describing Himself as the "Gate for the Sheep" and the "Good Shepherd."

  1. Introduction: We return to our series, “Who is Jesus?”
  2. Jesus describes Himself using 7 metaphors from the book of John.
  3. We learn the identity, personality, character and purpose of Jesus from the word pictures, He uses to portray Himself.
  4. He introduces each image with the sacred phrase, “I am.” Which indicates that He is divine, equal to God. (YHWH = “Yahweh,” Exodus 3:14)
  5. Today we will focus on two of Jesus’ illustrations from John chapter 10:
  • John 10:7 (NLT)—“… I am the gate for the sheep.” [also v.9, some translations use the word “door” instead of “gate.”]
  • John 10:11 (NLT)—“I am the good shepherd. …” [also v.14]


  1. Setting (John chapter 9)
  2. In John 9 (preceding chapter), Jesus healed a man who was born blind by making mud using spit and sending him to the pool at Siloam to wash. (9:1-7)
  3. Some of the religious leaders, the Pharisees doubted the miracle and declared that Jesus was not from God because the healing happened on the Sabbath. (9:15-34)
  4. [Screen] John 9:39–41 (NLT)—39 Then Jesus told [the man healing of blindness] him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”

40 Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard Him and asked, “Are You saying we’re blind?”

41 “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.” [Bringing us to today’s passage.]


  1. Background: the nature of sheep.
  2. Sheep need protection; they are not aggressive, have no top front teeth (incisors), so they can’t bite, they are not very fast; they do butt with their heads.
  3. They are not good foragers for food or water (unlike goats), so they must be fed and watered or herded to pastures where grass and water are available.
  4. Sheep aren’t very smart so they stumble into perilous situations and need help.
  5. [Screen] Matthew 9:36 (NLT)—36 When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.


  1. The gate for the sheep…


  1. #1 - Prevents deception. (John 10:1-8; C/R: Jeremiah 23:2; Matthew 23:2-4; 1 John 2:20-23)
  2. In warm weather, sheep would stay in the pasture overnight and their shepherds would remain with them. (At Jesus’ birth, shepherds were staying in the fields.)
  3. Since sheep are susceptible to attack by wild animals or theft by humans, they would be herded into enclosures made of stones, mud or sticks, which had a small opening into which the shepherd would drive the sheep at nightfall.
  4. Jesus began His discussion of sheep and shepherds by focusing on the threat posed, not by wild animals, but by wicked humans.
  5. [Screen] John 10:1-2 (NLT)— 1“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.”
  6. The shepherd came through the opening, sheep stealers climbed over the wall.
  7. [Screen] John 10:3-8 (NLT)—“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”

Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what He meant, so He explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before Me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them.”

  1. In this depiction, God is likely the gatekeeper (though in a parable, it’s not necessary to identify every reference and figure in the story).
  2. Jesus is both the shepherd and also the gate.
  3. The thieves and robbers were religious leaders (and also likely false Messiahs), who claimed to be caring for God’s people, but are really misleading and misusing them. (Specifically referring to Pharisees addressed at end of ch.9.)
  4. These Pharisees, teachers of the law, were thieves because they were stealing the people’s peace by telling them that they must please God by obeying complicated and oppressive rules and regulations. (Jer. 23:2; Matt. 23:2-4)
  5. They were robbing people of the security of knowing that they were accepted by God by grace, so they lived in the constant fear of His rejection and punishment.
  6. We encounter thieves when we are deceived by people who tell us we must comply with a long list of rules to please God. (Study Galatians this summer.)
  7. We are robbed of our security when we are deluded into believing that we must deserve God’s acceptance, so we live with guilt and fear.
  8. The Gate for the Sheep prevents deception by calling His sheep with His familiar voice so they can recognize that the voice they are hearing is a stranger’s voice that they should not listen to or follow. (v.8b)
  9. APP.: Are you being deceived into doubting that you truly belong to God?


The gate for the sheep…

  1. #2 - Produces salvation. (John 10:9-10; C/R: Matthew 7:13; Romans 8:1-2, 32; Philippians 4:19)
  2. The opening of the sheepfold enclosure would not be covered by a wooden gate because timber was not plentiful and nails not available.
  3. Instead, the shepherd became the gate by laying across the entrance to the pen so that no intruder—human or animal—could enter without his knowledge.
  4. John 10:9 (NLT)—“Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through Me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.”
  5. Just as there was only one opening for the sheep to enter, there’s only one entrance to eternity, one way to be saved—through Jesus, the Gate of the Sheep.
  6. Saved from what? The simple answer is sin, but there are several aspects.
  7. Salvation is not only a future occurrence; it affects the past, present and future.
  8. When we enter into eternity through Jesus (which begins on earth), we escape:
  • Sin’s penalty through justification
  1. We are declared innocent by God the judge because the sentence for our sins has been carried out against Jesus on the cross at Calvary.
  • Sin’s power through sanctification
  1. By the strength of the Holy Spirit within, we are delivered from sin’s ability to control us, but this does occur progressively over time.
  • Sin’s presence through glorification
  1. In heaven, there will be no sin, no suffering, no disappointment, no regrets, no depression, no guilt, no shame, no more aging!
  2. Salvation frees us from the control and condemnation of our sins. (Rom.8:1-2)
  3. John 10:10 (NLT)—“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
  4. Just as a good shepherd desired to provide his sheep the greenest of grass and freshest of water, Jesus desires to save us, then care for us and show us the best that life has to offer, not merely force us to obey! (Rom.8:32; Phil.4:19)


III. The shepherd for the flock (Isaiah 40:11; Matthew 2:6; 1 Peter 2:25)


  1. [Screen] Isaiah 40:11 (NLT)—He will feed His flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in His arms, holding them close to His heart. …
  2. Sheep need a shepherd to lead them to pasture and water, to defend them against danger, and to care for them.
  3. When the sheep returned to the fold at night after a day of grazing, the shepherd stood in the opening of the pen to inspect each sheep as it entered.
  4. He would pull burrs from their wool and anoint any who were scratched or wounded with oil. (APP.: Sounds like a mother’s care, doesn’t it?)


  1. #1 - Sacrifices Himself. (John 10:11-13, 17-18; C/R: Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 9:28; 1 John 3:16)
  2. [Screen] John 10:11–13 (NLT)—11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.”
  3. There were dangers associated with sheep-herding in first century Israel from wild animals. (EX.: Shepherd David fought a lion and a bear; 1 Sam.17:34-36).
  4. Shepherds would fight predators and risk injury to defend and protect their sheep, but no shepherd willingly died for his sheep.
  5. A person who cared for sheep for pay would flee when his life was threatened, which included these Pharisees who used the people but didn’t care for them.
  6. Jesus planned to die in his capacity as shepherd for His sheep because of His love.
  7. John 10:17–18 (NLT)—17 “The Father loves Me because I sacrifice My life so I may take it back again. 18 No one can take My life from Me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what My Father has commanded.” [Heb.9:28]
  8. Jesus knew what we need most was not a teacher, encourager or guide; what was essential was a substitute to die for our sins to protect us from condemnation.
  9. Jesus surrendered His life willingly; He was not forced into an unexpected death or die as a martyr whose life was taken from Him against His will.
  10. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, [screen] 1 John 3:16 (NLT)—We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. [Gal.2:20; Eph.5:2]
  11. APP.: Moms, you are laying down your lives to protect your children from unsafe situations, perilous people and dangerous influences.
  12. This protection which doesn’t usually require your death, but may mean the demise of a day off or the freedom to do what you want.


The shepherd for the flock…

  1. #2 - Seeks His sheep. (John 10:14-16; C/R: John10:25-30;17:12; Ephesians 2:14-18)
  2. [Screen] John 10:14–15 (NLT)—14 “I am the good shepherd; I know My own sheep, and they know Me, 15 just as My Father knows Me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice My life for the sheep.”
  3. Jewish shepherds had small flocks, so they knew each sheep individually.
  4. They were familiar with each sheep’s ways and habits, perhaps even names.
  5. [Screen] John 10:3–4 (NLT)[above]—3“…He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.”

5.Sometimes the flocks of several shepherds would be kept together in an enclosure. 

  1. Each shepherd could call to his flock and they would separate from the rest of the sheep and follow their shepherd out of the pen.
  2. Jesus knows His sheep and they know Him; when He calls to them, they come and follow, because there is a relationship that is personal and familiar.
  3. Jesus knows your name, your nature and your needs; in fact, there is nothing about you that He doesn’t know—but still He loves and accepts you!
  4. Christianity is not accepting a particular set of beliefs or adhering to a list of acceptable behaviors; it is knowing a person—Jesus—and being known by Him!
  5. [Screen] John 10:16 (NLT)—“I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to My voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.” [Jews and Gentiles would become one flock. Eph.2:14-18]
  6. Jesus, our good shepherd, knows us; when He calls us by name we will follow!
  7. [Screen] 1 Peter 2:25 (NLT)—Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.
  8. APP.: Is Jesus your protective shepherd? Do you follow His voice?
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