July 23 – 29, 2017
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 476–484; Steps to Christ, 17–22.
“Christ is both the door and the shepherd. He enters in by Himself. It is through His own sacrifice that He becomes the shepherd of the sheep.” The Desire of Ages, 478.
1 THE THIEF AND THE SHEPHERD
- How did Jesus distinguish between the thief and the shepherd, and what spiritual lesson was He illustrating? John 10:1, 2.
Note: “Christ applied these prophecies [referring to the Messiah’s pastoral mission, as found in Isaiah 40:9–11, Psalm 23:1, and Ezekiel 34:23, 16, 25, 28] to Himself, and He showed the contrast between His own character and that of the leaders in Israel. The Pharisees had just driven one from the fold, because he dared to bear witness to the power of Christ. They had cut off a soul whom the True Shepherd was drawing to Himself. In this they had shown themselves ignorant of the work committed to them, and unworthy of their trust as shepherds of the flock. Jesus now set before them the contrast between them and the Good Shepherd, and He pointed to Himself as the real keeper of the Lord’s flock.” The Desire of Ages, 477.
- What relationship exists between the sheep and their shepherd? John 10:3, 4.
- What will the sheep do before a stranger? John 10:5.
2 THE GATE TO THE FOLD
- How did Jesus further identify Himself and how did He classify the impenitent Pharisees? John 10:7–10.
Note: “Christ is the door to the fold of God. Through this door all His children, from the earliest times, have found entrance. In Jesus, as shown in types, as shadowed in symbols, as manifested in the revelation of the prophets, as unveiled in the lessons given to His disciples, and in the miracles wrought for the sons of men, they have beheld ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29), and through Him they are brought within the fold of His grace. Many have come presenting other objects for the faith of the world; ceremonies and systems have been devised by which men hope to receive justification and peace with God, and thus find entrance to His fold. But the only door is Christ, and all who have interposed something to take the place of Christ, all who have tried to enter the fold in some other way, are thieves and robbers.
“The Pharisees had not entered by the door. They had climbed into the fold by another way than Christ, and they were not fulfilling the work of the true shepherd. The priests and rulers, the scribes and Pharisees, destroyed the living pastures, and defiled the wellsprings of the water of life. Faithfully do the words of inspiration describe those false shepherds: ‘The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away; … but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them’ (Ezekiel 34:4).” The Desire of Ages, 477, 478.
- What contrast did Jesus draw between the true shepherd and the hireling? John 10:11–13.
Note: “He [Christ] … presented the parable of the true and the false shepherds, telling them that He was the good shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep; while the hireling, whose own the sheep are not, would flee and betray the flock in time of peril. The Pharisees were of that number who were holy in their own estimation. They took no notice of the lost sheep.” The Youth’s Instructor, April 28, 1886.
3 THE GOOD SHEPHERD
- What other characteristic of the good shepherd did Jesus manifest? John 10:14, 15.
Note: “As an earthly shepherd knows his sheep, so does the divine Shepherd know His flock that are scattered throughout the world. ‘Ye My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God.’ Jesus says, ‘I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine.’ ‘I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands’ (Ezekiel 34:31; Isaiah 43:1; 49:16).
“Jesus knows us individually, and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows us all by name. He knows the very house in which we live, the name of each occupant. He has at times given directions to His servants to go to a certain street in a certain city, to such a house, to find one of His sheep.
“Every soul is as fully known to Jesus as if he were the only one for whom the Saviour died. The distress of every one touches His heart. The cry for aid reaches His ear. He came to draw all men unto Himself. He bids them, ‘Follow Me,’ and His Spirit moves upon their hearts to draw them to come to Him. Many refuse to be drawn. Jesus knows who they are. He also knows who gladly hear His call, and are ready to come under His pastoral care. He says, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’ (John 10:27). He cares for each one as if there were not another on the face of the earth.” The Desire of Ages, 479, 480.
- For what other sheep did Jesus also show concern? John 10:16.
Note: “Jesus thought upon the souls all over the earth who were misled by false shepherds. Those whom He longed to gather as the sheep of His pasture were scattered among wolves, and He said, ‘Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock, one shepherd’ (John 10:16, R.V.).” The Desire of Ages, 483.
4 DIVINE POWER
- What divine power did Jesus declare He possessed? John 10:17, 18.
Note: “ ‘Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again’ (John 10:17). That is, My Father has so loved you, that He even loves Me more for giving My life to redeem you. In becoming your substitute and surety, by surrendering My life, by taking your liabilities, your transgressions, I am endeared to My Father.
“ ‘I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again’ (verses 17, 18). While as a member of the human family He was mortal, as God He was the fountain of life for the world. He could have withstood the advances of death, and refused to come under its dominion; but voluntarily He laid down His life, that He might bring life and immortality to light. He bore the sin of the world, endured its curse, yielded up His life as a sacrifice, that men might not eternally die. ‘Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. … He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all’ (Isaiah 53:4–6).” The Desire of Ages, 483, 484.
- What is it that leads men to follow Christ? John 10:27; 1John 4:10, 19; Matthew 11:28–30.
Note: “It is not the fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour’s matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary’s cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice, and they follow Him.” The Desire of Ages, 480.
“If Christ is dwelling in our hearts … . We shall work as He worked; we shall manifest the same spirit. And thus, loving Him and abiding in Him, we shall ‘grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ’ (Ephesians 4:15).” Steps to Christ, 75.
5 ASSURANCE OF SALVATION
- What assurance did Jesus give His sheep? John 10:28, 29.
Note: “Though now He has ascended to the presence of God, and shares the throne of the universe, Jesus has lost none of His compassionate nature. Today the same tender, sympathizing heart is open to all the woes of humanity. Today the hand that was pierced is reached forth to bless more abundantly His people that are in the world. ‘And they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand’ (John 10:28). The soul that has given himself to Christ is more precious in His sight than the whole world. The Saviour would have passed through the agony of Calvary that one might be saved in His kingdom. He will never abandon one for whom He has died. Unless His followers choose to leave Him, He will hold them fast.” The Desire of Ages, 480–483.
- Upon what does our spiritual security and assurance of salvation rest? Romans 8:31–39.
Note: “In the courts above, Christ is pleading for His church—pleading for those for whom He has paid the redemption price of His blood. Centuries, ages, can never lessen the efficacy of His atoning sacrifice. Neither life nor death, height nor depth, can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus; not because we hold Him so firmly, but because He holds us so fast. If our salvation depended on our own efforts, we could not be saved; but it depends on the One who is behind all the promises. Our grasp on Him may seem feeble, but His love is that of an elder brother; so long as we maintain our union with Him, no one can pluck us out of His hand.” The Acts of the Apostles, 552, 553.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Explain the difference in conduct between a shepherd and a thief.
2 Through what other symbol did Jesus identify Himself?
3 How do true shepherds behave with their sheep?
4 Why do the sheep follow the shepherd and not a stranger?
5 What assures our salvation?
Copyright © 2004 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.