I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. (John 10:11-13)
I AM The Good Shepherd
When the disciples saw a man who was born blind sitting and begging, they asked Jesus if he had sinned or his parents. The Lord reminded His followers that sin did not cause this man’s blindness but that this occasion would be a time to reveal the glory of God. Jesus spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He then told him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. Following the instructions of Jesus, the blind man went to the pool, washed, and received his sight. He was then called before the Jewish council to answer how he received his sight. His parents were called in to testify but deferred to their son to plead his own case. After a heated exchange with the Pharisees, the man was cast out from the assembly. Jesus found the man and asked if he believed in the Son of God and the man answered he did. As the man worshipped Jesus, the Pharisees stood around and Jesus proclaimed that He had come into the world for judgment and those who could see would be made blind. He was referring to the blindness of the Pharisees who rejected the miracle of the blind man receiving his sight. They asked Jesus if He thought they were blind. The Lord affirms their hypocrisy by telling them the story of the shepherd.
Jewish history is filled with allusions to God’s people being the flock of God. The leaders of Israel were called shepherds in the writing of Ezekiel. One of the severe charges made against the leaders of Israel during the captivity was their failure to feed, tend, and care for the flock of God. Ezekiel 34 is a stinging rebuke of the utter failure of the shepherds of Israel. Jesus uses this reference to show the continued hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders of His day and what Jesus came to offer all men. The hierarchy of Israel cared more for themselves than the people they were supposed to serve. Like the failed shepherds of old, the Jews mistreated the blind man and cast him out. How could they treat a fellow child of God in such a manner? It was reprehensible the way the elite Jewish leaders prided themselves with vanity, self-glory, and self-righteousness. Jesus was not that kind of shepherd.
The division of John 9 and 10 is an unhappy placement that takes away the importance of how Jesus compared Himself to the Pharisees and Himself. The Pharisees were thieves and robbers who tried to climb over the wall with their righteousness; unable to come in the door of the sheepfold. The one who enters by the door is the true shepherd. Only through the will of the doorkeeper will the shepherd be allowed to come in and take his sheep. The sheep hear his voice and they follow him. They will not listen to the voice of a stranger but flee from him. The shepherd will lead his flock to green pastures and beside still waters. Only the true shepherd will care for his sheep. A hireling will not have such care. His concern is to be paid with little or no concern for the safety of the sheep. His will is selfish. The good shepherd will give his life for the sheep because he cares for them.
Jesus said that He was the Good Shepherd. I AM the door and I AM the good shepherd is the distinction Jesus makes in what He came to do for all men and how the Jewish leaders treated their fellow citizens. Like a true shepherd, Jesus comes by the authority of the Father to do His will. Healing the blind man on the Sabbath affirmed the authority of Jesus to do the will of God. The miracle testified He was the Son of God. When the blind man received his sight, he could see the glory of God. The Pharisees could see with their eyes but were blinded by the message of the Good Shepherd. Jesus came to be the Good Shepherd for all men to come and find the joy of knowing the Father. He was willing to die for His sheep when these same Jews cried out to Pilate, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” The death of Jesus was the Good Shepherd dying for His sheep. He was the Lamb of God who took the scroll and broke its seals. Jesus was the Chief Shepherd who would guide His church. It was through the sacrifice of the Lamb the Gentiles were part of the flock of God. There was only one Good Shepherd. Thank God for the Shepherd.