"Part 1 Shepherds: The Good The Bad and The Ugly", Episode 7 Transcript
John 10:10 is my key verse for Bountiful Living. God put it on my heart in 2009 when I first had the idea for this ministry. "The thief comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy, but I have come so that you may have life and have it to the full." John 10:10 Today I am going to read this verse from The Passion Translation, which is a new translation I've just discovered. It's apparently a very accurate translation. So I'm so excited to share that with you today. I love the way that it explains God's word.
So as always, I never want to cherry-pick scripture. I don't want to just take something and believe exactly what it says without digging deeper into what each of these words mean. And I'm so glad that I did. Because every time I've heard this particular scripture preached or discussed, it's always identifying the thief as Satan. And while that is true, he is at the root of all of the evil and wickedness in the world, he uses people to accomplish his wicked schemes and we are often directly affected. Some of you may not know or even realize that we have an enemy, and he is out to steal, kill, and destroy.
But in this passage, I think that Jesus, as he always does, is saying something very specific that his audience will understand. I was pretty fascinated to know that this parable was being taught to the Pharisees and the crowd that has gathered during the Festival of Lights.
The scene is set in John 10:22, where it says, "This time came to observe the Winter Feast of renewal in Jerusalem," which you guys that is Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, our modern-day Hanukkah!
And so as Jesus and all of the people were gathered there to celebrate this winter festival, He is choosing this time to share and to talk about who He is and what He is here to do for us. This was a time of remembrance. Remembering, reflecting on Israel's history, remembering what they had been saved from and how they were rescued.
Jesus uses this very specific example of shepherding and come to find out...because I didn't know this at all, that He is directly quoting Ezekiel 34 in His parable. It would be easy for me to just jump on here (the podcast) and talk about John 10:10, but I would be negligent if I did not go back to Ezekiel 34 to see the foundation and background of why this message of the Good Shepherd is so vital and so relevant, not just to the Jews during this time as they celebrated Hanukkah, but to Christians today.
So if you look in Ezekiel 34 God is talking about shepherds. And if we think about our own lives, we all have people over us.
We have our parents originally, they are the first people who shepherd or lead us. We have teachers, we have mentors, we have presidents, we have state representatives, and all kinds of people who are technically over us, and don't forget our bosses. I'm sure you will agree with me that not all of these people are always good. Not all of these people are always faithful. Some of them are actually wicked, and that's what God is addressing in Ezekiel 34 says starting in verse 1, "When the word of the Lord came to me, 'Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to those shepherds,' thus says the Lord, 'Woe to you shepherds of Israel, who have been feeding themselves should not the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat and you clothe yourself with wool. You slaughter the fat of the sheep without feeding your flock. Those who are sick, you have not strengthened, you have not healed the broken, you have not found out this scattered you have not brought back nor have you stopped for the last but with force and severity. You have dominated them. They were scattered for lack of a shepherd and they became food for every beast of the field. And we're scattered.'" Now, of course, God is not going to stand for this.
He is not going to stand for his people, the people of Israel, or any of His children being treated this way. So this is how God responds. We're going to jump down a bit to verse 11. "For thus says the Lord, 'Behold, I myself will search for my sheep and seek them out as the shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep. So, will I care for my sheep until I deliver them from the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land. I will feed them on the mountain of Israel by streams and in the inhabited places of the land. I will feed them in good pasture and the grazing ground. We'll be on mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in the rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock I will lead them to rest declares the Lord.
I will seek the lost I will bring back the scattered bind up the broken and strengthen the sick and the fat and the strong. I will destroy I will feed them with judgment.'" So Jesus, The Good Shepherd, is a direct contrast to all the things that these evil, wicked people have done. They have misused their power. They have lorded over Israel, and there are times that when we're looking at the Old Testament, we always need to ask, is God talking about Israel or is He talking about all of His people?
This is one of the times that He is talking about Israel and He's talking about all of His people, including the Gentiles. The way that I can confirm that is Jesus begins to directly quote much of Ezekiel when he's talking to the Pharisees in John 10.
He knows they are familiar with the Torah and Israel's history. Of course, not everyone who hears will understand, but he's trying to help them understand. He even repeats Himself, which I appreciate. Jesus is always like, "If you didn't get it the first time. Let me explain it again. Let me explain it in a different way. Let me make it a little easier for you."
So jumping down again to the prophecy, I see in the side notes of my Bible this it is quoting John 10:11 where Jesus says, "I'm the Good Shepherd." Ezekiel 34:23 says, "'Then I will set over them one Shepherd, my servant David, and He will feed them He will feed them Himself and be their Shepherd."
Now of course in the historical timeline of Ezekiel, the Israelites had already returned from captivity and are rebuilding their temple. So this is way past the days of King David. When Ezekiel is saying this, it is not literally meaning King David, but it is meaning the seed of David. It is meaning his heir because God promised that there would be someone on the throne of Israel through King David's line through the end of the ages, and of course, that would be fulfilled in Christ.
Ezekiel 34:24, says, "and I the LORD will be their guide, and my servant David, (meaning Jesus) will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken, I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they will live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods."
Wow, guys I don't know what you're looking for in life, but I know I could use a covenant of peace and safety and security from harm.
So looking again at John 10:10, I love how the passion translation calls this, "The parable of the kind Shepherd" because that is a quality of somebody that we want in leadership.
As I mentioned earlier, Jesus is talking to the Pharisees and He says, "Listen to this eternal truth. The person who sneaks over the wall to enter into the sheep pen rather than coming through the gate reveals himself as a thief coming to steal."
But here's the contrast. "The true Shepherd walks right up to the gate, and because the gatekeeper knows Him, and knows who He is, he opens the gate to let Him in. And the sheep recognize the voice of the true Shepherd. For He calls His own by name and leads them out, for they belong to Him. And when He has brought out all of his sheep, He walks ahead of them, and they will follow for they are familiar with His voice, but they will run away from strangers and never follow them because they know it's the voice of a stranger.'
Jesus told the Pharisees this parable, even though they didn't understand a word of what He meant He went over it again, "I speak to you eternal truth. I am the gate. I'm the gate for the flock. All of those..."
(So this is how I know that Satan is not the only one they're referring to in John 10:10)
Because Jesus is saying, all of those who broke in before Me are thieves who came to steal."
And these are all false prophets, these are all false Christs, these are all people who position themselves in places of power and were abusive.
It says, "all those who broke in before me are thieves who came to steal, but the sheep never listened to them. I am the gateway to enter through me is to experience life, freedom, and satisfaction. A thief has only one thing in mind. He wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy, but I have come to give you everything in abundance more than you expect. Life in its fullness until you overflow. I'm the Good Shepherd who lays down my life as a sacrifice for the sheep. But a worker who only serves for wages is not a real shepherd because he has no heart for the sheep. He won't run away and abandon them when he sees the wolf coming. And then the wolf moles the sheep drags them off and scatters them."
So if you guys are feeling a little deja vu right about now, that is exactly what they were talking about in Ezekiel about these shepherds, these kings, these evil rulers who had come in, and not just people over Israel, but the Assyrians and all kinds of other people who came in to dominate and control Israel. And we all have met "those workers" who they're just working for a paycheck whose heart isn't in anything. And they may be thinking about themselves or the bottom line and not what is for the good.
We have all of these different experiences in our lives,
it may have been a parent who was abusive and was not a good shepherd to you,
they stole from you,
maybe they didn't take care of you.
Maybe someone has cheated you
and you lost either your financial security or your good name.
Whatever broken relationships you have with people who have been in leadership over you or powered or lorded over you in ways like a thief, you can come to Christ for healing.
You can come to Him for restoration.
You can come to Him for peace, for satisfaction for your wounds, to be bound up, for you to be safe and secure, not scattered and abandoned. That is the life Christ offers...because He is the Good Shepherd.
And if you want to know more about Christ check out the DISCOVER page on the website. You can submit a prayer request. And you can also find out how to have a relationship with this Good Shepherd.
AUTHORS NOTE: And I have to tell you, while I'm doing all this study, I had a little bit of my own personal conviction on how I have led and how I have Shepherded. I am human and will make errors and mistakes, but I am accountable to you and always want to make sure what I present is backed up with tons of research, double and triple checking by looking at other resources and reading commentaries from a few hundred years ago. That I also take time to pray, to intercede, every time I share the good news with you.
I'm excited and also humbled doing my research on this topic and I will share more in Part 2: Shepherds: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. I will share my own personal convictions and have a charge for all shepherds, or leaders, to serve as Jesus did.