The Good Shepherd: Jesus’ Ultimate Sacrifice for His Flock

The Good Shepherd audio video notes. Jesus Christ is the good shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep so you and I could have life more abundantly. Five times Jesus speaks of laying down his life. He does not say he might lay it down or it is a possibility he may need to lay it down. It was a given. He would stand between the sheep and the wolf and allow the wolf to attack, kill, and feed on him so the sheep would not be harmed. He was the one devoured by the wolf and the thief so we would not be.


By Pastor Delbert Young






The Good Shepherd audio video notes

Scriptures: John 10:10-21, Isaiah 40:11, Ezekiel 34:23-24, Zechariah 13:7, Isaiah 56:11, Jeremiah 23:2, Zechariah 11:17, John 10:14-16, John 10:18

 John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

(John 10:10-21)

I. Division

The scriptures tell us there was division therefore again among the Jews from these sayings. Why? This is a parable. How can a parable divide? Jesus is only telling a story about sheep and a shepherd and hirelings and wolves. How is this divisive? The reason for the division was this parable meant a lot more to the Jews in their day than it means to us today. The Lord said, I am the good shepherd.” He is not like a good shepherd. He is the good shepherd.

The Good Shepherd

1. They understood

They knew exactly what Jesus meant. When Jesus said he is the good shepherd, Jesus was saying he is the Christ, the awaited Messiah, the son of David (Isa 40:11; Eze 34:23; 37:34). Speaking of the coming shepherding Messiah, the prophets said,

Isaiah 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Ezekiel 34:23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.

Ezekiel 37:24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.

Zechariah 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered

The Good Shepherd

2. They understood the results 

The Jews not only knew Jesus was saying he was the Messiah. They also knew he was referring to them as thieves, as worthless hirelings, and even as the wolf devouring and scattering. Speaking to the religious leaders, the prophets said,

Isaiah 56:11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.

Jeremiah 23:1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:2 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

(NIV) Zechariah 11:17 “Woe to the worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye! May his arm be completely withered, his right eye totally blinded!”

Truth divides. Jesus truly is the Messiah and they truly were and are thieves, wolves, and hirelings. Sharing the truth will usually divide even the closest of friends (Mat 10:34, 35).

The Good Shepherd

II. life, and that they might have it more abundantly

1. Conjunction and… 

The Lord said he came that we might have life. However, we need to note he did not end by saying might have life. He added, and that they might have it more abundantly. Life is great, but we are not required to stop with life. Those who believe can have life, or they might have abundant life. The degree of life the believer may experience is up to the believer. To what dimensions will the believer walk in the truths of the kingdom? The more we walk in, the greater the life. We can have more life. This is life to the full. Believers are to experience the full life. Because of Jesus Christ, we can have it more abundantly.

The Good Shepherd

2. thief

As we saw in the previous parable about the door to the sheep, the thief to whom Jesus referred was not the devil per se. The devil is no place mentioned in this context. The thief was/is the person who came into the sheepfold some other way than through the door which is Jesus. Specifically, the thief are the false leaders and teachers who take from God’s people. In this instance, the thieves were the Jews (10:19) and Pharisees. The thief is the devil in that Jesus said as he spoke to the religious leaders, Ye are of your father the devil (Joh 8:44).

What does the thief come to steal? The answer is the word of God. The thief is any belief taking from people the word of God. We can believe we are better off without receiving Jesus as Lord. The thief has taken the scriptures. He has stolen abundant life. We can believe Jesus is Lord, but if we also believe we do not need the word of God in our lives, the thief remains successful. Believers can have life, but not abundant life. This thief will make the word of God of none effect (Mar 7:13). By stealing the word, the thief will steal the light, the truth, the way, and most of all, the abundant life. The dimension we experience the abundant life is by the same dimension we apply the word of God.

III. Emphasis of parable

This parable’s emphasis is the fact Jesus Christ is the good shepherd who laid down his life so you and I could have life, and that we might have it more abundantly. Five times Jesus speaks of laying down his life (Joh 10:11, 15, 17, 18). Jesus said, the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep (Joh 10:11). He said, I lay down my life for the sheep (Joh 10:15). Again, I lay down my life, that I might take it again (Joh 10:17). Again, I lay it down of myself (Joh 10:18). Once more, I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again (Joh 10:18).

The Good Shepherd

He does not say he might lay it down or it is a possibility he may need to lay it down. It was a given. He would stand between the sheep and the wolf and allow the wolf to attack, kill, and feed on him so the sheep would not be harmed. The wolf comes. Rather than allowing the wolf to steal, kill, destroy, catch, and scatter God’s flock, the Lord laid down his life to protect the sheep. He became the Lamb of God, the sacrifice.

1. Judaism

I want to give us a thought. Had Jesus not laid down his life, the only way any of us could know God is through Judaism. We would be doing animal sacrifices and needing to go to Jerusalem three times each year to worship. Jesus did not allow the wolf to devour us. The good shepherd will stand between the sheep and the attacking wolf. The wolf is coming to feed. The wolf will kill something and Jesus allowed the wolf to feed on him as the Lamb of God so you and I can have life and, if we want, have life more abundantly.

2. Wolf

The wolf is that which comes to kill and destroy. It will attack our health, finances, families, work, and our minds. In Christ, any and every wolf is defeated. Through his laying down his life, anything coming against me must get passed him. No matter what your wolf is, it is defeated because Jesus is the good shepherd. If we apply his teachings and walk in them, they will absolutely stand between the attacking wolf and you and me.

The Good Shepherd

The good news and glad tidings are through Jesus anyone can experience abundant life. It matters not what dark and horrible existence one has experienced. Jesus came to give life. All one must do is come to him. Receive him as Lord and Savior and then apply his teachings and ways to life. When this is accomplished, life, and that more abundantly is guaranteed.

Too often we hear about all we will get when we die. We hear of mansions and streets of gold and no more tears and no more dying. One day this may be relevant to me, but today I need abundant life and not abundant death.

IV. I am the good shepherd (pastor)

Pastor The Lord said I am the good shepherd. The word translated good shepherd is the Greek word poimen {poy-mane’} and is Strong’s number 4166. It is exactly the same Greek word translated as pastors in Ephesians 4:11. Jesus is the good pastor.


1. Hired or employed

The hireling is simply a person hired. In the setting of shepherding, the hireling would be a person employed to shepherd the sheep. Jesus, speaking of the hireling said, whose own the sheep are not. There is a difference when the shepherd owns the sheep. The hireling is simply hired or employed.

The Good Shepherd

2. leaveth the sheep

The hireling has no intention of remaining with the sheep. This is especially true when the wolf comes. But there are other reasons the hireling will leave. Many times the hireling will be looking for a better hireling position. The hireling will always have his or her eye open for a better-paying shepherding job. The hireling will leave the sheep because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep (10:13). Though he does not care about the sheep, he does care about his gain. It is because of this that today’s church developed the voting political system discussed next.

Another reason the hireling will leave is because of the political process in today’s church system. The system votes in the shepherd and votes out the shepherd. Most church systems today encourage the hireling mentality. Many truly called by the Lord to be pastors are made into hirelings by the system. A person cannot properly pastor the flock when they must play politics to maintain employment.

It is different now than it was when I was a denominational pastor.

A denominational pastor can always pack up and go to another church. In the denomination, I was the pastor, but not actually responsible. However, in a scriptural church, the pastor is responsible. When responsible, one does not simply pack up and move to the next church. A much deeper care for the sheep is experienced.

It is a fact. The hireling will leave. It is in his plans, or in the plans of the system he or she is within.

The Good Shepherd

Results of the hireling

the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep

When there is no true shepherd, the wolf is able to catch the sheep. The wolf is able to kill and devour the sheep. The flock always suffers when the shepherd is removed. Some of the sheep are destroyed. Some of the sheep scatter. No good thing can happen when the shepherd is a hireling.


1. the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep

King David fought the bear and the lion to protect his sheep. Jacob protected his and Laban’s sheep. The apostle Paul suffered countless times to protect the flock of God. Jesus laid down his life. How does this equate with today’s good pastors? Any pastor desires to avoid being literally crucified if possible. However, if necessary this must be figured into the price. Primarily the application today in our society is the pastor must put shepherding first. This might mean quitting a good-paying job to pastor a not-so-good-paying church.

The Good Shepherd

It might mean giving a house to the kingdom to provide a place for the sheepfold. It might mean living in a not-so-nice house. This might mean driving for hours to minister to the people. It might mean uprooting and moving one’s family. Nothing is more important than shepherding the sheep.

Giving his life means the people must be first.

There have been many and will be many times when I wanted to do something important to me, but the people needed their pastor. The pastor’s desires must be put off or forgotten. Doing this actually is not difficult for a true pastor/shepherd. In fact, it is an honor and privilege. I believe this is why the Lord gives me the liberty he gives me. He knows I will lay down my desires when I need to minister to his people and I do a good job of it.

But Jesus is the good shepherd who gave up his life for the sheep. We know Jesus did this to the ultimate. He was crucified so his sheep could experience abundant life.

The Good Shepherd

2. know my sheep, and am known of mine

a. he knows us 

The good pastor and the sheep are acquainted. The shepherd knows the sheep and the sheep know the shepherd. The shepherd actually knew each sheep in his flock and named each sheep. The Lord knows each sheep and each sheep knows him. How wonderful this is to grasp. The Lord knows me and desires I know him.

We may ask, “Well, just how well can he know me and I know him?” The lord compared the dimension of being acquainted with his sheep to the dimension he and the Father know each other.

(NIV) John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me –

 John 10:15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Our relationship with the Lord can be just as the relationship between the Lord and the Father. Through prayer, his word, teaching and preaching, and fellowship, we can truly have a relationship with God. We can know his voice. We can know his mind, and we can know his ways. Also, we can know His Spirit.

The Good Shepherd

b. other sheep I have

 John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

The Lord said he had other sheep which are not of this fold. This would be a reference to the Gentiles who would soon begin to come into the flock of God. The Gentiles would hear his voice and come.

Allow me to share one important eschatological point for our theologians. The Lord said there would be one fold, and one shepherd. As surely as Jesus Christ is the one good shepherd, there is also one fold of sheep. There is a doctrine saying the Jews are superior and God has a special place for them in the kingdom, i.e., the fold. Obviously, this is not true. The Jews will not have a special sheepfold separate from the Gentiles. There is neither Jew nor Gentile (Gal 3:28; Col 3:11). This is not to say God does not love the Jew. It is to say he loves the Gentiles equally. There is no one more important than you. He is the respecter of no man. He knows you and he loves you.

No matter what the wolf is coming to devour, the Lord will lay down his life. For his disciples, the wolf was a religious system condemning and devouring. Jesus rebuked their system saying, Woe unto you hypocrites (Mat 23:13-32). Jesus said, their generation shall not pass before it was laid desolate (Mat 23:36-38; 24:34). Jesus told them the kingdom was taken from them and given to the people who would bring forth the fruits (Mat 21:43). The wolf came. Rather than allowing it to take his sheep, Jesus laid down his life.

The Good Shepherd

It is the same for you and me. What wolf is coming against you? Jesus has already laid down his life for you.


 John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

 John 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

As the Lord concludes the parable, he emphasizes again he will lay down his life. It is as though he says, “Do you know why the Father loves me so much?” “It is because I love his sheep and am willing to lay down my life for them.” The parable’s emphasis is Jesus Christ is the good shepherd who did indeed lay down his life so we can have life and have it more abundantly.

Jesus did not come to be accepted by the Jews and to fix Judaism. He came to fulfill the law (Mat 5:17). This means he came to end it by fulfilling it. To do so, he must be rejected and die (Isa 53:1-12). The shepherd must be smitten (Zec 11:17). The Old Covenant decayed and vanished away (Heb 8:13). The New Covenant is to bring you and me lifeand that we can have it more abundantly. No one took his life from him. He laid it down.

The Good Shepherd audio video notes

The Good Shepherd audio video notes

The Good Shepherd audio video notes

Other Related Sermons:

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Psalms 23 Psalms Sermon Study Audio

Shepherds First Luke 2:1-20

Pharisees Wolves And Vipers – audio

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Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Delbert Young Sermons YouTube