JOHN 11:1-6

DECEMBER 17 & DECEMBER 24, 2017

THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF LAZARUS (PART I)

INTRODUCTION:

1. In this chapter we have John’s exclusive account of our Lord’s most illustrious and largely recorded miracle, The Raising of Lazarus.
2. The other three Synoptic writers confine their history primarily to our Lord’s Galilean ministry, scarcely ever carrying it into Judea, until the passion week, whereas John’s record relates primarily to Christ’s Judean ministry, therefore this miracle is reserved for John’s pen.
3. The raising of Lazarus is more largely recorded than any of Christ’s other miracles.
a) One reason for this is, no doubt, because of the many instructive circumstances surrounding the event.
b) Another reason for the extensive coverage of this miracle is that it is an earnest of the crowning proof of all, namely Christ’s own resurrection.
c) Yet another reason is that Lazarus’ resurrection serves as a sort of precursor or preview of the grand and glorious final victory that Christ has won for His people over the last enemy. (See I Cor. 15:21-26)

I. THE STORY BEGINS WITH WORD OF LAZARUS’ ILLNESS COMING TO JESUS. (VERSES 1-3) Jesus’ abode was now at a place beyond Jordan, which was a great way off form Bethany where Lazarus lived. Bethany lay very near to Jerusalem where Jesus was before coming to this location.

A. WE HAVE THE INTRODUCTION OF THE PARTICULAR FAMILY WITH WHOM THIS STORY HAS TO DO. (VERSES 1, 2)
1. It was “Lazarus of Bethany” who was sick. “A certain man named Lazarus,” i.e. one who was marked out by divine grace; one who was specially loved by our Lord.
2. He lived with his two sisters, Mary and Martha. They three shared a home together at Bethany.
3. One of the two sisters is particularly described to be that Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment. (Verse 2) There were many of that name, therefore John identifies her as the same Mary that is mentioned in the next chapter. (See Ch. 12:3-8; also Matt. 26:6-13; and Mark 14:3-9)
4. We know that these were very dear friends of our Lord, and in their home He was always a welcome guest. (Luke 10:38-42; Matt. 21:17)

B. MESSENGERS WERE SENT BY MARY AND MARTHA TO LET JESUS KNOW THAT LAZARUS WAS VERY SICK. (VERSE 3)
1. Their love for their brother could not better have been shown than by informing Jesus of his condition.
a) “A brother is born for adversity,” and this also applies to sisters. (Prov. 17:17)
b) They knew that Jesus, Who was kind and merciful even to total strangers, would certainly be moved with compassion for His dear friend, Lazarus. “Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.”
c) Notice, it is not unusual for those whom Christ loves to be sick.
2. Their confidence in Jesus’ ability to raise Lazarus up from his bed of affliction is clearly seen. (Psa. 41:3)
a) Their message to Jesus was not prescribing or pressing, but barely relating the case. “He whom thou lovest is sick.”
b) From what follows, it is made clear that Jesus knew all about the matter and what they had need of before ever they sent to Him. (Matt. 6:8)
c) Nevertheless, though God knows our cares and griefs, He will know them from us, and is pleased by our bringing them to Him.

II. NEXT WE ARE TOLD HOW OUR LORD ENTERTAINED THE INFORMATION THAT HIS FRIEND, LAZARUS, WAS SICK. (VERSES 4-6)

A. HE GAVE HIS PROGNOSIS OF THE ILLNESS AND THE EVENT OF IT. (VERSE 4)
1. First, as soon as Jesus received the messengers’ report, He said immediately, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son might be glorified thereby.”
a) Did the messengers return to Bethany with this information for the comfort and support of the family while He delayed? Some think they probably did.
b) Jesus was not saying that Lazarus’ sickness would not be fatal, for it definitely proved to be so, and, of course, Jesus knew this.
c) That was not the main purpose for which the sickness was sent. Had it been sent simply as a summons to the grave, the primary intention, in his rising from the dead would have been defeated.
d) Lazarus died, yet it might be said that he did not die. His death was not an everlasting farewell to this world, as death usually is, therefore in this sense his sickness was not unto death. Death was not his long home.
(1) The sickness of a child of God, even when fatal, is not unto death, for, thank God, it is not unto eternal death.
(2) The body’s death to this world is the soul’s birth into another world where there is no death. (Rev. 21:4)
2. This death had a higher purpose, in that, it was sent in order to give opportunity for the manifesting of God’s glorious power.
a) The afflictions of the saints are all designed for the glory of God.
b) Let this blessed truth reconcile us to the darkest dispensations of Providence; they are all for the glory of God.
3. This death was for the glory of God particularly that the Son of God might be glorified.
a) It gave Him occasion to work that glorious miracle, the raising of Lazarus from the dead.
b) Before this, the man was born blind so that Christ might have the honor of curing him. (Ch. 9:3)
c) Let us remember that it is by Jesus Christ that all manifestations of God’s mercy and power come to us. Therefore in every display of that mercy and power, it is “that the Son of God might be glorified.”

B. HE DEFERRED GOING TO BETHANY, ALTHOUGH HE KNEW THAT HIS DEAR FRIEND WAS DYING. (VERSES 5, 6)
1. The desperate plea of those whom He loved notwithstanding, “He abode two days still in the same place where He was,” i.e. beyond Jordan, a great distance removed from them.
2. Their enhancement attached to their plea was moving: “Lord, he whom thou lovest.” It was also legitimate: “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister, and Lazarus.” (Verse 5)
3. One would think it should follow, when He heard therefore that he was sick, He made all haste to go to him. If He loved them, now was the time to show it.
4. Sometimes Christ’s people may think, or even say, “Lord, if You love me, where are You?” Let us take comfort in knowing that He has not forsaken us, and He is fully aware of our troubles.
a) Though in body He was a great distance from those He loved at Bethany, He was nevertheless present with them in spirit.
b) Though it may have seemed to them that He was indifferent; His mercies are prepared, and will be dispensed right on time. When the work of deliverance, temporal or spiritual, stands at a stay, it does not stay the time.

III. HERE IS THE CONVERSATION HE HAD WITH HIS DISCIPLES WHEN THE TIME CAME THAT HE MUST GO TO BETHANY. (VERSES 7-16)

A. HE NOTIFIED HIS DISCIPLES OF HIS PURPOSE TO GO AGAIN INTO JUDEA. (VERSE 7)
1. It seems as if the disciples may not have been aware of the word that He had received about Lazarus.
2. They said nothing at all about Lazarus during this whole time (two days) until Jesus mentions him in Verse 11, and then they said nothing about his sickness.

B. THE DISCIPLES OBJECT TO HIS RETURNING AGAIN TO JUDEA, BECAUSE IT WAS NOT SAFE. (VSE. 8)
1. They were the men of His counsel, and to them He said, “Let us go into Judea again.”
2. They reminded Him of the great danger He was in when He was there, perhaps only three months before.
3. They marvel that He will go there again, seeing He had narrowly escaped being stoned again and again. They did not realize that Jesus had not departed in fear.
4. We read in other places how the disciples tried to dissuade Him from walking into the face of danger, but here perhaps personal fears were also part of their concern

C. JESUS ANSWERS THE OBJECTION OF HIS DISCIPLES. (VERSES 9, 10)
1. Jesus speaks of a man’s life as a day. “Are there not twelve hours in a day?”
a) The Jews divided their work day into twelve hours, the daylight hours between sunrise and sunset which Providence has given us to work by.
b) This fact is basic to Jesus’ parable which emphasizes a householder hiring laborers at the eleventh hour with only one hour left to labor. (Matt. 20:1-16)
2. It is while it is day that man must accomplish his mission, regardless of the particular dangers that he might encounter along the way. “If a man walks in the day, he stumbleth not because he seeth the light of this world.”
3. Just as there is a set time for all that a man’s life entails (peace, liberty, trouble, suffering), there is also a night wherein they cannot work without the light to guide their feet. (Verse 10)
4. This Jesus said in answer to the disciples’ objection to Him putting Himself again in harm’s way by returning to Judea.
a) Regardless of the danger, it was part of His purpose while He had His life.
b) His life could not be taken from Him until His mission was complete.
c) This is true of us all, and though we do not throw caution to the wind, we must finish our God-given course, even if it involves trouble and suffering.

D. JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES DISCUSS THE MATTER OF LAZARUS’ DEATH. (VERSES 11-16)
1. Jesus notifies the disciples that Lazarus is dead.
a) Having prepared them for this dangerous journey back into enemy territory, He now intimates why such a trip was necessary.
b) Having received no further intelligence from Bethany about Lazarus’ condition, Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth,” i.e. Lazarus is dead.
(1) Jesus knows all about our troubles, He needs not to be informed, neither do His sympathies need persuading.
(2) See how Christ is the friend of believers (Prov. 18:24), and He owns them as His friends.
(3) See also how He calls the death of a believer a sleep: “he sleepeth.”
a) The death of Lazarus was in a particular sense a sleep, as that of Jarius’ daughter, because he was to be soon raised again. (Verses 43, 44; see Luke 8:52-55)
b) Since all who are Christ’s are sure to rise again at last, their death may also be called sleep. (I Thess. 4:13, 14)
c) Having informed the disciples that Lazarus was asleep (dead) He then apprised them of His intentions to go and “awake him out of sleep,” (raise him up out of death).
(1) No sooner had Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth,” than He presently added, “but I go that I might wake him out of sleep.”
(2) Do we question in the least our Lord’s immediate knowledge of our situations, or how easily and quickly He can take care of them.
2. The disciples mistakenly took Jesus’ words in their literal sense. (Verse 12)
a) What about a sleeping friend should call for making this dangerous journey?
b) They were still trying to persuade Him not to go there.
3. Jesus rectified the disciples’ misunderstanding with a plain declaration of Lazarus’ state. (Verses 13, 14)
4. Jesus gives the reason why He had delayed so long to go and see Lazarus.
a) Had He been there, He would have healed him and prevented his death.
b) Just as He had assured Martha that if she would believe she would see the glory of God (Verse 40), so also would He have His disciples to witness the same for the perfecting of their faith. (Verse 15)
5. Notice Thomas here demonstrates a difficulty in believing that was characteristic of him. (See Ch. 20:25)
a) He saw this as a “suicide mission.”
b) In one sense we must admire his loyal devotion. “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” He apparently took to heart what Jesus said (Verses 9, 10), taking it to mean that we must not avoid our duties in life for sake of ease, but rather perform them regardless of the cost.
c) However, Thomas’ proposal demonstrates a serious unbelief with respect to Jesus’ words regarding Himself and His mission. (Ch. 10:17, 18)

JOHN 10:31-42

DECEMBER 10, 2017

THE SHEPHERD AND HIS SHEEP (PART III)

INTRODUCTION:

1. Perhaps for the true believer, there is no place in all of Scripture that he finds more delightful than John Chapter 10. Those who are so blessed to be of Christ’s sheep may rejoice with joy unspeakable over what is here revealed about The Shepherd and His Sheep.
a) That Christ is the True Shepherd, Who entered by the door, and not some false Messiah who entered the sheep fold illegitimately (Verses 1-6);
b) That the sheep have by Him gained entrance into the sheep fold, i.e. the Church (Verses 7-9);
c) That the Good Shepherd purchased His sheep by laying down His own life in their stead (Verses 10-18); and
d) That the Good Shepherd calls his sheep, and they are given a heart to follow Him, and that He gives them eternal life, and that He keeps them safe and secure forever and ever (Verses 27-30).
2. But those to whom Jesus was speaking as He declared these delightful truths were not believers, because they were not of His sheep. (Verses 19-26)
a) These wonderful truths which so delight the souls of Christ’s sheep, were to them blasphemous claims deserving of death.
b) Jesus had before said to them, that they could not hear Him because they had no understanding; that they were of their father, the devil, and him they would hear. (See Ch. 8:43-45)
c) Here He attributes their inability to believe to the fact that they were not of His sheep. (Verse 26)
3. Their inability is manifested in the same way as before. “Then the Jews took up stones AGAIN to stone him.” (Vs. 31 with Ch. 8:59)

I. NOTICE THE OUTRAGE OF THE JEWS, AND JESUS’ TENDER RESPONSE. (VERSES 31, 32)

A. THE JEWS WERE READY AND PREPARED TO STONE JESUS. (VERSE 31)
1. Prior to this, the Jews “took up stones to cast at Him.” (Ch. 8:59) Here it is a different Greek word which means lit. “they carried stones.”
a) These were great stones, such as were used to stone malefactors to death.
b) They carried them for a distance. Apparently they did not merely take up whatever stones or pebbles were handy, but carried these stones for the purpose of execution.
2. They had challenged Him to tell them plainly whether He was the Christ or no. Yet, now that He did so, and not only did He say so, but proved Himself to be the Christ, they condemn Him as a malefactor.
3. Although their former similar attempt was baffled when Jesus escaped through the midst of them (Ch. 8:59), they attempt the same again.
a) How vainly will sinners strengthen themselves against God.
b) Like these Jews, they must learn the hard way that none ever harden themselves against Him and prosper.

B. CHRIST ANSWERS THEIR OUTRAGE WITH TENDER AND KIND EXPOSTULATION. (VERSE 32)
1. “Jesus answered.” Either was answered their actions, or perhaps they had whipped up the crowd to cry “stone him, stone him.” (See Mark 15:13, 140
2. He could have answered with fire from heaven, yet He mildly replied, “…for which of those good works do you stone me?”
3. With total disregard for the divine nature and power of His words, they condemned Jesus. “Many good works have I showed you FROM MY FATHER.”
a) To any unprejudiced mind the source of His power was unquestionably from heaven. (Ch. 3:1, 2)
b) His works were done openly as an incontestable demonstration of the validity of His commission. (See Psa. 111:6)
c) Yet to all of this these enemies, who claimed to be “seers” (Ch. 9:41), were willingly blind.
4. The Divine grace of Jesus’ works convicted these Jews of base ingratitude.
a) His works among them were not only miracles, wondrous, and amazing, but works of love, and kindness, and mercy.
b) Jesus asks, “for which of my works (healing of the diseased, causing blinded eyes to see, delivering the tormented from devils) do you stone me?” (See Jer. 2:5; Mic. 6:3)
5. It might be asked still, “For which of the many good things wrought by Christians and the Christian religion throughout the world is Christ and Christianity so despised and hated?”

II. NOTICE NEXT THEIR VINDICATION FOR THEIR ATTEMPT TO STONE CHRIST, AND HOW THEY JUSTIFIED THEIR ACTIONS. (VERSE 33)

A. THEY REFUSED TO ACCEPT CHRIST’S ASSERTION THAT THEY PERSECUTED HIM FOR A GOOD WORK. “For a good work we stone thee not.”
1. They wickedly denied that His works were good, even making many of them to be crimes because done on the Sabbath day.
2. But if He had done any good works, they would never own up to taking up stones against Him for them, even though these were the main reason for their exasperation. (See Ch. 11:47)

B. THEY CLAIMED THAT IT WAS FOR SAKE OF GOD’S GLORY THAT THEY WOULD PROSECUTE HIM FOR BLASPHEMY. “…because that thou, being a man makest thyself God.”
1. Out of a pretended zeal for the Divine Law. (Lev. 24:16)
2. Out of a real enmity toward the Gospel, they represented Christ as a blasphemer. Their proof: “Thou…makest thyself God.”
3. They were right in this, that what Christ said of Himself amounted to claiming to be Divine. Note the immediate context alone:
a) He said that He was one with the Father, and
b) He said that He would give eternal life.
4. They were very wrong, however, in their assertion that Jesus was a mere man.
a) In this, they were the blasphemers. So also are all false religionists who deny Christ’s Deity, or make the Son to be a created being.
b) That said, he who being a man, a sinful man, such as the Pope, makes himself as a god, claiming Divine powers and prerogatives, is unquestionably a blasphemer.

III. NOTICE NEXT CHRIST’S REPLY TO THEIR ACCUSATION IN WHICH HE PROVES HIMSELF TO BE NO BLASPHEMER BY TWO ARGUMENTS. (VERSES 34-38)

A. HIS FIRST ARGUMENT IS TAKEN FROM THE WORD OF GOD. (VERSES 34-36; PSA. 82:6)
1. This is an argument which is from the lesser to the greater. “If they were gods, much more am I.”
2. Note how He explains the text. (Verse 35) The word of God’s commission came upon them appointing these magistrates to their office. So God, Himself, put His Name on them minding them of this duty to judge and rule as God does. Therefore they are called gods. (See Exod. 22:28)
3. See how He applies the text. (Verse 36) It is easy to see for this how unreasonable it was for them to condemn Christ for calling Himself the Son of God, when they themselves called their rulers so, and that with Scripture to warrant it. Which of their rulers had God the Father so sanctified as He has His Son? Which was so clearly commissioned and confirmed by Him as Jesus Christ?
4. We see here, once again, the high regard that Jesus had for the Word of God. We have here another example of how our Lord sees a most singular and obscure verse of Scripture as absolutely authoritative to make His case. (See Matt. 22:31, 32)

B. HIS SECOND ARGUMENT IS TAKEN FROM HIS OWN WORKS. (VERSES 37, 38)
1. In this Jesus will prove that He and the Father are one. His first was an ad hominem argument; i.e. turning a man’s own argument against himself, but here in His second argument; He simply declares and proves His own claim that He and His Father are one.
2. He argues from His works, which He had often declared as the Father’s seal, and the unassailable credentials of Himself and His mission. “If I do not the works of my Father believe me not.” (Verse 37)
a) This is a most fair proposal. The works speak for themselves.
b) He did not demand a blind faith nor an assent to His mission further that He had given proof of it.
3. “But” He continues, “if I do, though ye believe not me, BELIEVE THE WORKS.” (Verse 38a) The miracles are undeniable proofs that His claim is true, BELIEVE THE WORKS.
4. Notice His stated reason for making this argument. “…that ye may know and believe…” (Verse 38b)
a) Though He might justly have abandoned such blasphemous wretches as incurable, yet He vouchsafes to reason with them.
b) If they should intelligently, and with full satisfaction see the Father in Him, and He in the Father, they would believe and be saved.
c) How amazing is His love for and kindness toward sinners, even such as not only wished Him dead, but were carrying in their hands stones for His execution.
5. Notice also that which is essential in true believing. “That the Father is in me and I in Him.” (Verse 38c) None are true believers who do not confess the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

IV. JOHN GIVES THE FINAL OUTCOME OF THIS ENCOUNTER. (VERSES 39-42)

A. THE HEARTS OF THE JEWISH LEADERS REMAINED UNCHANGED. (VERSE 39)
1. They had taken up stones to stone Him, but again it was a failed attempt. (Verse 31) Having been held in check while Jesus reasoned with them, now “they sought again to take him.” (Verse 39a)
2. He once again escaped unharmed somehow slipping right through their hands. (Verse 39b)
3. He escaped not out of fear, but because His hour was not yet come.

B. JESUS REMOVED HIMSELF AND RETIRED TO A FAMILIAR PLACE BEYOND JORDAN WHERE HE FOUND QUIETNESS AND REST. (VERSES 40, 41)
1. Just as His meat was His Gospel work, so was His rest. “and many resorted to Him.” (Verse 41a) “and many believed on Him there.” (Verse 42)
2. Those who resorted to our Lord recognized that John had spoken of Him in truth.
a) John was the forerunner. He did no miracles, for he was not the Messiah, nor did he claim to be. (Ch. 1:20; 3:30)
b) To these who had heard John, when they saw Christ, it was confirmed that John’s message was true.
c) So John being dead was yet speaking, point men to Christ, just as he did when he was alive. (John 1:8, 29, 35)

C. JESUS ABODE BEYOND JORDAN AND WAS MUCH MORE REFRESHING TO HIS SPIRIT THAN HIS TIME IN JERUSALEM. (VERSE 42)

JOHN 10:19-50

NOVEMBER 26, 2017

THE SHEPHERD AND HIS SHEEP (PART II)

INTRODUCTION:

1. This chapter is a striking illustration of the progressive nature of our Lord’s discourses, one of many examples found in this Gospel. Starting with a simple statement, Jesus goes on to speak of the highest truth.
2. There is, however, the clear indication that something of more than ordinary importance will be forthcoming, in that, He begins with the double “verily.” This is one of twenty-four places, all in John’s Gospel, where He uses this expression.
3. We must keep in mind that there is here no break or separation from the previous chapter. Jesus is still answering the hostile Pharisees who asked, “Are we blind also?” and got the response, “Ye say We see, therefore your sin remaineth.” To them He goes on here to say, “I say unto you, he that entereth not in by the door is a thief and a robber.”
4. He speaks to them in parables, but does not immediately present Himself as the Shepherd. He first makes reference to the blind teachers of the Jews, the Scribes, and Pharisees. These are the persons He has in mind when He describes the false shepherd. The persons, who had just said, “We see,” He denounces as “thieves and robbers.”
5. He then, by way of parables, plainly made a twofold declaration concerning Himself.
a) “I am the door.” (Verses 7-9)
b) “I am the Good Shepherd.” (Verses 11-18)
6. These statements, and the powerful claims He makes in connection with them draw very different responses from these Jews.

I. NOTICE THE DIFFERENT SENTIMENTS CONCERNING THE FOREGOING DISCOURSE. (VSES. 19-21) What strifes and controversies our Lord occasioned while He was here on earth! “There was a DIVISION (a SCHISM) therefore AGAIN…” (Verse 19; compare Ch. 7:43; Ch. 9:16)

A. SOME SPEAK ILL OF HIM USING THE HARSHEST, MOST DEMEANING LANGUAGE IMAGINABLE. (VERSE 20)
1. They reproach Him as a demoniac. “He hath a devil and is mad.” (See Ch. 7:20; 8:48)
a) They hear Jesus’ claims and determine that these are the ravings of a madman, or one who is delirious.
(1) If anyone other than Jesus Christ, God’s Son, had said these things, their charge would have been reasonable.
(2) But, the mighty works that He did bore witness that His claims were true. (Verses 25, 38; Ch. 5:36; 14:11)
b) Let us not be surprised if we see a life response to ourselves and the Gospel that we preach. (Rom. 8:7; I Cor. 2:14)
(1) Servants of Christ must think it no strange thing when they have to endure ridicule and hard words from children of the world.
(2) Those who talk about and prefer another world to this one are often labeled dreamers and crazies.
2. They ridicule His hearers as foolish for encouraging what they count as conceited and outlandish claims.
a) Believers will oftentimes be thought foolish for sake of their faith.
b) We must not allow ourselves to become shy about our beliefs, whatever might be the opinions of fallen, unbelieving creatures.

B. OTHERS STAND UP IN DEFENSE OF HIM AND DARE TO STAND STRONG AGAINST THE OPPOSITION. (VERSE 21)
1. They appreciate the excellency of Jesus’ doctrine. “These are not the words of him that hath a devil.”
a) If Christianity is not the true religion, it is the greatest fraud that has ever been perpetrated upon the world. This would make its teaching to be the “doctrine of devils,” the product of “the father of lies.”
b) But, it is certain that the doctrine of Christ is no doctrine of devils because it is leveled directly against Satan and his kingdom.
2. They see in His miracles the work and power of God. “Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?” (See Matt. 12:22-28; Luke 11:20)
a) Neither mad men nor bad men either could or would do such wonderful works as Jesus went about doing.
b) The truth and power of the Christian Gospel is best seen in the transforming effect that it has in the lives of believers.

II. THE DISPUTE BETWEEN CHRIST AND THE JEWS IN THE TEMPLE AT THE FEAST OF DEDICATION. (VERSES 22-30)

A. JOHN TELLS WHEN AND WHERE THIS DISPUTE TAKES PLACE. (VERSES 22, 23)
1. It is during the Feast of Dedication.
a) This feast was most likely that which was appointed by Judas Maccabeus, and was an annual observance by consent to commemorate the new altar and purging of the temple after it had been profaned by Antiochus. (This was the second temple, the building and dedication of which is recorded the Book of Ezra.)
b) This feast was not one of Divine ordination like Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles, but was nonetheless kept each year. We are not told that Jesus came specifically to observe this Feast, but we know that He was already at Jerusalem, and had been in Judea since He came for the Feast of Tabernacles. (Ch. 7:10)
c) Although this feast was not of God’s ordination, it was nevertheless instituted for a good purpose, and was apparently not in violation of any sacred statute.
2. It is in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. (Verse 22; See Acts 3:11; 5:12)
a) We have a description of the porch that Solomon built in I Kings 6:3. Though it was destroyed with the temple by the Babylonians, it seems that with the second temple there was one built like it, and that it kept the same name.
b) This porch or portico was a covered walkway which ran along the eastern wall of the court of the Gentiles. There Jesus walked and observed.

B. HERE IS THE EXCHANGE THAT TAKES PLACE BETWEEN OUR LORD AND THE JEWS ON THAT OCCASION. (VERSES 24-30)
1. The question that is put to Him by the Jews. (Verse 24)
a) They encircle, or surround Jesus.
b) They quarrel with Him, as if He had deliberately been keeping them in suspense. “How long dost thou make us to doubt?” or more literally, “Until what time dost thou lift up our souls?” or “…take away our souls?”
c) They demand of Him a direct, categorical answer. “If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.” Nothing is more common with hardened and wicked hearts than to allege a lack of evidence, and to pretend willingness to believe, if only sufficient proof was supplies.
d) Their pressing query was seemingly good, suggesting that if He would stop with the parables (Ch. 6:35; 8:12;10:11, etc.) and just say it flat out, they were desirous to know the truth, and were ready to embrace it. But, there was nothing good in their design, for had He told them plainly that He was the Christ; they needed nothing more to make Him obnoxious to the Roman government.
2. Jesus’ answer strongly contradicts their implication that He had not been forthright with them, and exposes the reason for their unbelief. (Verses 25, 26)
a) He had been quite clear. “I told you.” Besides the parables, He had plainly declared Himself to be the Son of God; that He had life in Himself; that He had power to execute judgment; that “before Abraham was I am.”
b) Besides these plain statements, His works bore witness of Him.
c) He condemns them for their obstinate unbelief notwithstanding the powerful evidence they were given. “Ye believed not.”
d) He declares the basic reason for their unbelief. “But, ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep.” (Vrs. 26)
3. Jesus takes this occasion to describe both the gracious disposition and the happy state of those that are His sheep. (Verses 27-30)
a) He tells these who are not His sheep of the character of those who are His sheep.
(1) They hear His voice, for they know it to be His. (Verse 4; See also Verse 16; Song of Sol. 2:8)
(2) They follow Him. They submit to His leading and guidance.
b) He describes the blessed state of all who are His sheep.
(1) He knows them. He knows each one by name. (Verse 3)
(2) He provides happiness for them that is suited to them – LIFE ETERNAL.
(a) Man has a living, immortal soul; therefore his chief good is eternal life, running parallel with his duration.
(b) This eternal life is conveyed to him as a free gift. “I give unto them eternal life.”
(3) He has undertaken for their security. “They shall never perish.”
(4) Their place of safety is absolutely secure. “Neither shall any (man) pluck them out of my hand.” (See Deut. 33:3)
(a) Literally, “Neither shall any pluck them out…” (“man” is supplied by the translators)
(b) There is not any power, whether it be human, angelic, or any other, that can separate the sheep from their powerful, loving Shepherd. (Rom. 8:35-39)
(5) His Father’s power is likewise engaged for their preservation. (Verse 30)
(a) The Father who gave the, and the Son, who redeemed them, are alike interested in the well being of the sheep.
(b) The Father (like the Son) is greater than all of the combined forces of hell and earth.
c) It is truly a happy and secure state that all of Christ’s sheep enjoy. May we all be given that gracious disposition so as to:
(1) hear His voice;
(2) follow at His call;
(3) know His wonderful and matchless gift of life eternal; and
(4) find in His strong hand perfect rest for our souls.

JOHN 10:1-18

NOVEMBER 12 / NOVEMBER 19, 2017

THE SHEPHERD AND THE SHEEP (PART I)

INTRODUCTION:

1. This chapter is closely connected with the preceding one. The parable before us was with direct reference to the blind teachers of the Jewish people. The Scribes and Pharisees are the persons our Lord has in view when He describes the false shepherds. The very men who had just said, “We see.” He denounces with holy boldness as “thieves and robbers.”
2. Jesus is still at Jerusalem. He returned for the Feast of Tabernacles (Ch. 7:10), which was held in the month of October. It is now the Feast of Dedication (Verse 22), which was held in the month of November.
3. Some have thought that Jesus might have been walking past the Sheep Gate as he spoke these three parables.
a) The Sheepfold. (Verses 1-6)
b) The Door. (Verses 7-10)
c) The Good Shepherd. (Verses 11-18)
4. Every Israelite knew the daily routine of the shepherd that is used by our Lord as a means for setting forth great truth.
a) Leading the sheep out of the sheepfold in the morning.
b) Pasturing the sheep in the fields during the day.
c) Bringing the sheep safely home at night.
5. The daily care pictures for us the salvation which Christ provides for His own, and the precious relationship they enjoy with Him.

I. CHRIST AS SHEPHERD HAS LED HIS SHEEP OUT OF THE PLACE OF DESTRUCTION. (VERSES 1-6)

A. THE ENTRANCE OF THE SHEPHERD. (VERSES 1-3a)
1. The meaning of the sheepfold.
a) It is not salvation. No one can gain entrance to it illegally.
b) It is not the church. Christ does not lead us out of it.
c) It is the Jewish Theocracy. The Pharisees had gained an improper dominion over it.
2. The door and its meaning.
a) Different parable and meaning in Verses 7, 9.
b) The Shepherd comes in at the door.
c) Thus the door here is the Messianic Office through which proper entrance was gotten into the sheepfold. Divine right to the sheep.
3. The porter then is John the Baptist, who opened to Christ. (John 1:29)

B. THE CALL OF THE SHEPHERD. (VERSES 3b, 4c, 5)
1. As a shepherd calling his sheep, so Christ was calling His own in Israel; as the blind man in Chapter 9.
2. So, too, He would call sheep from all nations. (Verse 16
3. This call is personal and individual. “…by name.” (Verse 3)
4. This call is effectual. “The sheep hear his voice…” (Verse 3b) (Hear, recognize, obey)

C. THE PURPOSE OF THE SHEPHERD. (VERSES 4, 5)
1. The shepherd wants to separate his sheep from others.
2. The shepherd wants to get the sheep out of the sheepfold. “When he putteth forth his sheep.” (See Ch. 9:34)
3. The shepherd wants to get the sheep to follow him.
4. The shepherd wants the sheep to ignore the voice of strangers. (Verse 5)

II. CHRIST AS SHEPHERD LEADS HIS SHEEP INTO A PLACE OF BOUNTIFUL PROVISION. (VERSES 7-10)

A. HE, HIMSELF, IS THE DOOR TO IT. (VERSES 7, 9a)
1. As the Shepherd daily leads the sheep to their pasture, He is the door to it.
2. As the Shepherd makes a fold in the field, He lies in the opening, Himself, and become the Door.
3. So Christ points the way and is the way of our salvation.

B. THE WONDERS OF THIS PROVISION. (VERSE 9)
1. It is open to any who will be sheep-like. “If any man enter in…” (Verse 9b)
a) Who will hear His voice. (Verse 27)
b) Who will follow His call.
2. It is full salvation. “He shall be saved.” (Verse 9c)
3. It is a provision of security and liberty. “…and shall go in and out…” (Verse 9d)
4. It is a satisfying, all sufficient provision. “…and find pasture…” (Verse 9e)

III. CHRIST AS SHEPHERD INTERPOSES HIS OWN LIFE FOR THE SHEEP. (VERSES 11-18)

A. HIS MOTIVE IS SELFLESS LOVE. (VERSES 11-13, 18)
1. This love springs from a personal care for the sheep themselves. He knows and cares for them personally. (Verses 13-15)
2. This love springs from personal ownership. Contrasted to the hireling, the Shepherd owns the sheep. (Verse 12)
a) His by eternal election.
b) His by creation.
c) His by redemption.
3. Thus the Shepherd faces the wolf and its fury rather than allowing the sheep to suffer.
4. His act of love is most free. Loves drives Him, not necessity. (Verse 18)

B. HIS OBJECT OF SELF-SACRIFICE IS THE SHEEP. “I LAY DOWN MY LIFE FOR THE SHEEP.”
1. The sacrifice itself. My life or soul.
2. The manner of its sacrifice. “I lay down…” (i.e. put off as a garment)
3. The substitution of the sacrifice. “…for the sheep.” (i.e. on behalf of; in the stead of)
4. Thus the Shepherd dies rather than the sheep, in their very place.

C. HIS REWARD IS CERTAINLY MERITED.
1. He earns the love of the Father as the God-man. (Verse 17)
2. He earns the love of the sheep and His position over them. (Verses 14, 16)
a) Sheep in all nations. “…other sheep I have.”
b) But one fold and one Shepherd.
3. He earns His new resurrection life for Himself and for His sheep. (Verses 17, 18) “I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” (Phil. 2:9-11)