John 10:1-21

Author: Amy Bacon

“What I’m about to tell you Pharisees is true. What if someone does not enter the sheep pen through the gate but climbs in another way? That person is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him. The sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own sheep, he goes on ahead of them. His sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger. In fact, they will run away from him. They don’t recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus told this story. But the Pharisees didn’t understand what he was telling them.

7 So Jesus said again, “What I’m about to tell you is true. I am like a gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers. But the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I’m like a gate. Anyone who enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out. And they will find plenty of food. 10 A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so they may have life. I want them to have it in the fullest possible way.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. 12 The hired man is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when the hired man sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired man. He does not care about the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and my sheep know me. 15 They know me just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I give my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that do not belong to this sheep pen. I must bring them in too. They also will listen to my voice. Then there will be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I give up my life. But I will take it back again. 18 No one takes it from me. I give it up myself. I have the authority to give it up. And I have the authority to take it back again. I received this command from my Father.”

19 The Jews who heard these words could not agree with one another. 20 Many of them said, “He is controlled by a demon. He has gone crazy! Why should we listen to him?”

21 But others said, “A person controlled by a demon does not say things like this. Can a demon open the eyes of someone who is blind?” – (NIRV)

Key Verses

The sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own sheep, he goes on ahead of them. His sheep follow him because they know his voice…. 10 A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so they may have life. I want them to have it in the fullest possible way.


This passage describes Jesus as the good shepherd, safely leading his sheep to food, water, and shelter. He knows his sheep, and he calls his sheep by name – leading them with his voice.  When dangers arise, Jesus fights for his sheep, even to the point of death.  There is no limit to Jesus’ commitment to his sheep and their well-being.

All too often, I forget that Jesus is my good shepherd.  He calls me by name.  He doesn’t ask me to go anywhere he hasn’t already gone, because he is leading the way.  Jesus has the spiritual food and water that I need to be spiritually healthy.  When I need rest, Jesus protects me in the shelter of his presence.   Any time Satan attacks me, Jesus leads the fight.  He suffered and gave up his life to break Satan’s power over me.  I can have peace knowing that Jesus will never give fighting for me.

When Jesus leads us, he speaks to us.  I wonder…what exactly is he saying to call me back to his path?  When you imagine our good shepherd calling us…leading us, what do you hear?  Do you imagine a scolding, frustrated shepherd?  Do you hear angry correction?  As the shepherd redirects, do you expect a weary or harsh tone of voice? 

Let me humbly remind you that our shepherd is the Good Shepherd.  He is good and kind and loving.  I believe our Jesus…our Good Shepherd…is speaking encouragement into our hearts.  When I am attacked on every side, my Good Shepherd encourages me, “But I have prayed for you… that your faith may not fail.”  When I fall down, I can hear my Jesus urging, “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (and sisters too!).  When I am afraid of the unknown along the journey, Jesus calmly says, “…my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  When I am exhausted, Jesus beckons me, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  And when I don’t know which way to go, Jesus calls out, “Come, follow me.”


Jesus came to give us life…abundant life…the fullest possible life.  This abundant, fullest possible life is an amazing journey, a process.  And your Jesus, your Good Shepherd, is your biggest cheerleader.  Our gentle Good Shepherd is not angry when we make mistakes.  Jesus doesn’t give up on us or throw up his hands in frustration when I struggle to grow in my faith.  He just keeps calling to me like a parent encouraging a baby to take those first steps. 


When my babies were learning to walk, they made me so proud every time they were brave enough to attempt to take their first steps.  I was never disappointed in them when they stumbled; I was proud of their courage to leave crawling safety and venture out on two feet.  Each attempt was cause for more cheering and encouragement.  The very idea of feeling disappointed in babies is ludicrous because we know that babies will stumble and fall – often – before they learn to walk or run. 


So why do we expect God to feel that way?  Why do we believe Jesus attaches shame to our efforts to grow?  How unfair to believe such unkind, unloving behavior from our Good Shepherd! Satan is the thief filling our ears with messages of disappointment, shame, and anger.  In reality, Jesus is cheering us on to live an amazing abundant life of adventure, stepping out in bold faith.  He loves you, and he is truly proud of you every time you try to follow him.  So be brave and call out, “Lord, if it’s you,…tell me to come to you.”  Our Jesus will say,  “Come.”

Thought Questions

1.           When we assume Jesus is disappointed with us for stumbling in our faith, we attach shame to our faith                           walk.  How can this affect our faith lives long term?

2.           Is it difficult for you to envision Jesus as your biggest cheerleader?  Why or why not?

3.           If Jesus is cheering for me to grow in faith, how do you think I should treat others along their faith walk?

4.           How can viewing Jesus as our cheerleader change our relationships with fellow sheep?





Amy Bacon

Amy is a devoted friend, daughter, sister, mom, and wife who loves diving deep in the Word. She has a great passion for “the least of these,” and invests her energy in seeing that they know Jesus. Amy, her husband, John, and their four children have worked and worshipped at Saturn Road since 1999.