4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Central Idea: In a world of noise, where many want our attention, Jesus calls us to follow him as the Good Shepherd who has died for us because he wants to give us abundant life.
Introduction – who do you listen to?
Who are some of the voices clamoring for our attention?
Jesus says he is the good shepherd who leads his people as they listen to his voice
One of the central messages in scripture is that God is the God of life. He created us and placed us in a garden with a tree of life. At the end of time there will be a river of life running through the Holy City. Jesus came to conquer death make the life of God is available to us.
10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and 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, he goes on ahead of them, and 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 because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
This image is based on the habits of first century shepherds who lead their sheep by the sound of their voices.
This reminds us that the essence of being a Christian is following Jesus’ voice
We hear his voice through reading scripture.
We hear his voice through other believers in the church.
We learn to listen to the Holy Spirit who is in us.
We cultivate a habit of obedience to God.
Transition: There are a lot of voices in the culture and being a Christian is listening to that voice but how do we know it is a better voice? The religious leaders of the day did not understand Jesus so he changed the metaphor. He had said he was the shepherd; now he says “I am the gate.”
Jesus says he is the way to abundant life and not loss of life
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the 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 am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. [kept safe] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
He continues the picture of the first century shepherd saying that those who climb over the wall are trying to steal the sheep not lead the sheep to safe pasture.
In the same way only Jesus has come to lead us into the fullness of life. All others are out for themselves at the expense of people.
When Jesus say “life to the full” this includes eternal life. Look at verse 27.
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand
But “life to the full” includes more than life after death. It also means life here and now as God intended. It includes peace with God, purpose, holiness, and love for each other.
Transition Why trust Jesus as the answer to our spiritual search? Look what Jesus says in the next paragraph.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
Jesus lays down his life for us while other false leaders ask us to sacrifice for them.
Jesus has already laid down his life for us.
Other influencers vying for your attention are self-serving not self-sacrificing. They want to use us for their gain rather than giving us abundant life.
God wants you to know how much he loves you so you can find abundant life. Part of that life is loving others as God loves us. And offering them abundant life on his behalf.