Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


The Names of Christ
"NAMES OF CHRIST"© -is a book written by Dr. James Modlish
-reprinted here with the author's permission-

Lesson Seventeen

Christ - The Good Shepherd
(John 10:1-18)

Introduction: The Lord introduced the concept of the Good Shepherd with a parable. (vs. 1-5) The oriental sheepfold was very simple: a stone wall surrounded it, perhaps ten feet high, and an opening served as the door. The shepherds in the village would drive their sheep into the fold at nightfall and leave the porter to stand guard. In the morning each shepherd would call his own sheep, which would recognize their shepherd's voice and come out of the fold. The porter would sleep at the opening and actually become "the door." Nothing could enter or leave the fold without passing over the porter or the shepherd.

Christ points out that the true shepherd comes through the door (v. 1), calls his sheep by name and they recognize him. (v. 3), leads the sheep and they follow (v. 4-5). False shepherds and strangers, who are thieves and robbers, try to get in some subtle way, and the sheep will not recognize or follow them.

I. THE EXPLANATION - (Jn. 10:7-21)

A. THE DOOR - (vs. 7-10) Christ is the door, and as such He leads the sheep "in and out. " The blind man in chapter 9 was "cast out" (excommunicated) by Israel because he trusted Christ, but was taken into the new fold by Christ! Arthur Pink points out that there are really three doors spoken of in this chapter, and we must distinguish them if we are to get the full explanation:

[1]. "The door into the sheepfold" (vs. 1) - The sheepfold here is NOT heaven, but the nation Israel.

Christ came to Israel through the appointed, Scriptural way; and the porter (John the Baptist) opened the door for Him.

[2]. "The door of the sheep" (vs. 7) - This is the door that leads people OUT OF their present fold, in this case, Judaism. Christ opened the way for multitudes to leave the old religious system and find new life.

[3]. "The door of salvation" (vs. 9) - The sheep using this door go in and out, which speaks of liberty; they have eternal life; they enjoy the pastures of God's Word. Satan, through his false teachers (thieves and robbers) want to steal, kill, and destroy the sheep; but Christ gives abundant life and cares for the sheep.

B. THE SHEPHERD (vs. 11-15) There is a contrast here between the Pharisees (hirelings) who had no concern for the sheep, and Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd. They flee and protect themselves when the enemies come; they are guilty of fleecing the sheep and giving them nothing in return. Hundreds of years before God had spoken out against these false shepherds. (See Eze. 34)

Christ willingly gives up His life for the sheep. (See Acts 20:29). Christ as the Good shepherd gives His life on the cross (Psalm 22); as the Great Shepherd, He cares and as the Chief Shepherd He will come again in glory for His sheep (Psalm 24 and 1 Pet. 5:4). In (vs. 18) He speaks of both His death and His resurrection.

C. THE FLOCK (vs. 16-21) The "other sheep" are the Gentiles, who were not of the Jewish fold. He MUST bring them, and He will do it through His voice, His Word. This we see happening in (Acts 10) when Peter goes to the Gentiles and they are saved. 


The Old Testament is particularly rich in the types which foreshadow Christ in the character of a "shepherd." A brief examination of each will be profitable.

A. ABEL - In (Gen. 4:2) we are told that "Abel was a keeper of the sheep." The distinctive aspect of typical truth which he exemplifies is the death of the Shepherd. Slain by wicked hands, by his brother according to the flesh.

B. JACOB - The prominent thing in connection with him as a shepherd is his care for the sheep - (see Gen. 30:31; 31:38-40; 33:13,14)

C. JOSEPH - The very first thing recorded in Scripture abut this favorite son of Jacob is that he fed the flock (Gen. 3 7:2).

D. MOSES - Three things are told us about him: he watered, protected and guided the sheep. (Ex. 2:16,17; 3:1)

E. DAVID - He is presented as jeopardizing his life for the sheep (1 Sam. 17:34-36).

NOTE: There is one other "shepherd" referred to in the Old Testament and that is the "idol shepherd" (Zech. 11:16,17), and he is the antichrist - how significant that he is the sixth - the number of man. The only other individual "shepherd" mentioned in Scripture is the Lord Jesus, and He is the Seventh! Seven is the number of perfection, and we do not reach perfection till we come to Christ, the Good Shepherd!


The application is most obvious in duties and fulfilled responsibilities of the Good Shepherd.

A. HIS MEDIATORIAL OFFICE - The shepherd is not the owner of the flock, but the one to whom the care of the sheep is entrusted. So Christ as Mediator is the One appointed by the Father to act as shepherd. (Jn. 10:29) Note how in the types, Joseph, Moses, and David tended not their own flock, but those of their fathers. Second, the figure speaks of fellowship, the Saviour's presence with His own. The shepherd never leaves his flock. There is only one exception to this, and that is when he commits them into the care of the "porter" of the sheepfold; and 'that is at nightfall. How suggestive is this! During the night of Christ's absence, the Holy Spirit has charge of God's elect!

Finally, the shepherd-character speaks of Christ's care, faithfulness, solicitude for His own.

B. HIS LEADERSHIP - Sheep are characterized by a proneness to wander. Even when placed in a field with a fence all around it, yet if there be a gap anywhere, they will quickly get out and stray. The shepherd has to on occasion break the leg of a persistent wanderer.

C. HIS SACRIFICE - (Jn. 10:15,17) Arthur Pink says - "No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself (10:18). When Christ died, He did so of His own voluntary will. This is a point of vital importance. We must never give a place to the dishonoring thought that the Lord Jesus was powerless to prevent His sufferings, that when He endured such indignities and cruel treatment at the hands of His enemies, it was because He was unable to avoid them. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The treachery of Judas, the arrest in the Garden, the arraignment before Caiaphas, the insults from the soldiers, the trial before Pilate, the submission to the unjust sentence, the journey to Calvary, the being nailed to the cruel tree - all of these were voluntarily endured. Without His own consent none could have harmed a hair of His head. A beautiful type of this is furnished in (Gen. 22:13), where we read that the ram, which was placed on the altar as a substitute for Isaac, was "caught in a thicket by his horns." The "horns" speak of strength and power (see Hab. 3:4, etc.). Typically they tell us that the Saviour did not succumb to death through weakness, but that He gave up His life in the full vigor of His strength. It was not the nails, but the strength of His love to the Father and to His elect, which held Him to the Cross.


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