The Good Shepherd
 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
To appreciate this parable it is important to understand its setting in a small Jewish village. Most village families owned a few sheep. The houses of the villagers had small walled courtyards where the sheep were kept. Because each family had only a few sheep, a shepherd for each household was not justified, so several households would have one shepherd to look after their sheep. Often the shepherding was done by a son (or two daughters) from one of these families. If such a person was not available a stranger/hireling was employed. Early each morning the sheep would be taken out to graze in the open country. The shepherd moved from house to house, and because he was known to the doorkeepers they opened their courtyard doors to allow him to call out the sheep. The sheep knew his voice and eagerly followed him into the open country to feed. The walls of the courtyards could be up to six and a half feet high. One who was not the shepherd, who had ulterior motives, would have to climb over the walls because the doorkeeper would not admit him, and of course the sheep would not recognize him and would not come, in fact they would run away.
To this day, in the Middle East, a shepherd will go into a crowded sheepfold and call out his own sheep one by one, naming them. They will recognize his voice and come to him.
I Am the Good Shepherd
 “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.  But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.  A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”  This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  He 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.  He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.  And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.  For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words.  Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?”  Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Ezekiel has a prophecy……it is 593BC
 “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out.  As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.  And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country.  I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel.  I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD.  I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.
 “As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats.  Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet?  And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet?
 “Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.  Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad,  I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep.  And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.  And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken.
It’s a bit confusing if you don’t know the end of the story…..In Ezekiel here God is saying that He is the Shepherd, but then he says David is the shepherd…..You see He’s alluding to the one who will come from the line of David, the Messiah…Jesus and He is the savior and deliverer and messiah…He’s God in the flesh.
It’s clear here in John 10 that Jesus is saying that He’s the Good Shepherd. That He’s God.
So what does it look like to know the Good Shepherd?
Say a prayer …walk the aisle and I’m good?
Doesn’t He say here….
3] To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
Remember they know when there is a wrong voice and know to run away….do you?
Y’all ever worked in the nursery when there’s a bunch of kids? Notice that even the ones who can’t talk yet know their Momma’s voice when she shows up at the door? They light up right?
Is that how you feel when you think of Jesus? Do you know His voice? Do you follow Him? Or are you following the wrong voice?
How about verse 10
10] The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Is your life abundant? Abundant in what? No…not money nor power. In the things of God?
Back to my question – So what does it look like to know the Good Shepherd?
Here’s what it looks like on a practical basis and what it doesn’t look like.
 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,  idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,  envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Henri Nouwen said it this way…. “Did I offer peace today? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.”
If you know the Good Shepherd it will change you.