The 7 "I Am" Statements of Christ: I Am the Door/The Good Shepherd
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Catching Up In this series we are studying the seven “I Am” statements of Christ found in John’s Gospel. When Jesus said the words “I Am” preceding each of these statements, He was purposely connecting Himself with the word “Yahweh,” the Hebrew name for God which means “I Am.”
Today we’re going to look at both Jesus’ 3rd and 4th “I Am” statements because they are found in the same discourse.
Background Once again, before we get into the passage we’ll be studying today, we need to set up the context. Jesus is again speaking to the Jewish people in Jerusalem. Today’s passage is recorded in John 10 and is in response to events that took place in John 9. Jesus had healed a man born blind, on a Sabbath, and this caused quite a stir in the community. John 9:13 says the people ended up bringing the man to the Pharisees, and what followed was a heated debate over the identity of Jesus. In fact, in verse 22 we find out this:
John 9:22b the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.
And that’s exactly what happened to the man who was healed. After he had been questioned twice by the Pharisees and had watched his parents be called in and questioned, this is what took place:
John 9:30b-34 (ESV) [this is the man who had been healed speaking] You do not know where he comes from [talking about Jesus], and yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
34They [the Pharisees] answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.
They excommunicated the man. Why would they do that? Why would they have agreed, as we read above, “that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue,” or excommunicated. Because the Pharisees and religious leaders perceived the possibility of Jesus being the Christ, and anyone who believed as such, as a threat to their power and position.
Oh here we go!
I Am the Door, I Am the Good Shepherd Now that we’ve set up the context, let’s look at the passage with Jesus’ 3rd and 4th “I Am” statements:
John 10:1-15 (ESV) 1“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
They “did not understand what he was saying to them,” so, just as He had done before, this is when Jesus decided to get their attention:
7So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
8All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
9I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
To set a bit of cultural background, the Jewish people symbolized spiritual and political leaders as “shepherds.” The metaphor of God being the Shepherd of His people is found all throughout the Old Testament, so, just as before, when Jesus said “I Am” and referenced Himself as the Shepherd, they knew exactly what He was saying.
Jesus began His analogy by talking about a true shepherd vs. a false shepherd, a bad shepherd vs. THE Good Shepherd. Jesus was talking about the religious leaders of the time, saying they were actually “thieves and robbers” because their agendas were selfish and self-serving. They valued power, position, and money rather than God and the people they were supposed to care for. They would take advantage of the people and even exploit them in order to advance their own agendas. They excommunicated the healed beggar because they perceived him as a threat against their power and position. They were so focused on their earthly ambitions they missed the fact that rather than being a threat to their power, the beggar was a sign from their Savior!
Jesus said to them,
John 10:7, 9 7...“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
9I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
Jesus is the Door, not a door. He is the ONLY door into salvation.
An ancient sheep pen was an enclosure with a single opening for the sheep to go in and out. The sheep would go in at night to be protected from predators and thieves while they slept. The pen was usually made of stone and was often without an actual gate, or door. When this was the case, the shepherds would sleep inside the opening to protect the sheep. They would lie down in the opening to create a door.
Does that make you think of anything?!
1 John 3:16a (ESV) By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us
And this is exactly what Jesus says in his next “I Am” statement:
John 10:11 11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Jesus Christ laid down His life to become the Door for His sheep!
Jesus’ motivations were solely the care of His sheep. He was no hired hand who didn’t have ownership of the sheep and would bail when danger came. He took ownership of the sheep, for He was the Creator of the sheep! He cared for whom He created - at all cost.
The Good Shepherd became the Sacrificial Lamb!
Jesus goes on to say,
John 10:14 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,
Sheep knew the voice of their shepherd. They were not driven from behind, but they were lead by the voice of their shepherd. They knew their shepherd, and their shepherd knew them. Jesus was saying He knows us. He knows His sheep. Every detail about who we are is known by God because every detail about who we are was created by God.
In turn, we can know Him back. This doesn’t mean we just know who He is and He just knows who we are. It means a close, intimate connection. We can grow so closely connected to Jesus Christ that we know His voice when He speaks - and we follow it. Our God doesn’t just see us, He doesn’t just remember us occasionally, our God knows us.
He is our Good Shepherd. Everything considered “good,” Jesus is to us. He protects us, in the darkness of the night and in the light of day, from the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
John 10:9-10 9I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
He leads us to abundant life. He leads us to find pasture. David wrote the most beautiful psalm describing God as our Shepherd:
Psalm 23:1-4 (ESV) 1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
I shall not want - God provides.
He makes me lie down in green pastures - He provides rest for our soul comparitive to “green” grass, which was fresh grass, soft and plentiful.
He leads me beside still waters - Sheep were afraid of rough waters and wouldn’t drink from them. God leads us to waters from which can drink, safe waters.
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake - He leads us on this journey of righteousness, and in everything He leads us it is for the glory of His name!
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me - Even if our Good Shepherd leads us into places of hardship and trial, we don’t need to fear because HE IS WITH US. His rod and His staff will guide us through AND protect us along the way.
There’s not a single one of His sheep He will leave behind.
I want to show you something we left out earlier. Right after the man born blind had been excommunicated, and just before Jesus went into the analogy of the sheep and the shepherd, this is what happened:
John 9:35-38 35Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
Jesus heard they had cast the man out, and He went to find him! He is the One who leaves the 99 to go after the 1 lost sheep and rejoices over that sheep when it is found (Matthew 18:12-13). THAT is His goodness. That is His love.
In Closing We’re going to close with one last thing. Something struck me in the second verse about Jesus being the door. Let’s look at it one more time:
John 10:9 9I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
The sheep didn’t stay in the pen, they went in and out!
The sheep pen was meant for the sheep to have shelter at night. When night fell, the sheep pen protected the sheep from predators while the shepherd laid down to create a door. The sheep pen was a place of safety and protection, a place to rest their head in the dark and know they were being watched over and protected.
But, when daylight came, the sheep went out again.
We’re not meant to just sit around in the sheep pen!
It’s the Great Commission:
Mark 16:15 (ESV) And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
We enter in through Christ, and then, THROUGH CHRIST, we go out! As sheep in Jesus Christ’s sheep pen, through the Holy Spirit, we get to partner with Him to go after the one!
PRAYER Oh Lord, thank You for laying down Your life so I can enter into your Kingdom. Thank You that I can know You and that You know me. Help me to rest in knowing that You are always with me and care for me, and help me to have the courage to go after the one!