Ephesians 4:7-16: Spiritual gifts –pastor teacher, part 5.

Tuesday November 23, 2021


We are closing our doctrine of the gift of pastor or shepherd with Joh 10:1-18, where the Lord speaks of Himself as the good Shepherd. The pastor/shepherd teacher is to imitate Jesus Christ.


This passage is the Lord’s teaching directly after he heals the man born blind. The Pharisees sent out the healed man from their presence. They removed him from their fold. We learn that they threatened everyone with excommunication who claimed that Jesus was the Christ. The blind man, now seeing, spoke the truth of the situation plainly. The Pharisees refused to believe in Jesus as the Christ, even after interviewing the blind beggar’s parents who confirmed that the man was indeed their son and was indeed blind from birth. No one had ever heard of such a miracle being done.


Joh 9:32-34

"Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 "If this man were not from God, He could do nothing." 34 They answered and said to him, "You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?" And they put him out.


It is in this context that Jesus teaches concerning Himself as the good Shepherd of His flock and against the robber and hireling.


The background for this passage, the healing of the blind man and Jesus’ teaching of Himself as the Shepherd, is Eze 34. Keep your finger (or ribbon) in one of them so you can turn back and forth.


Eze 34:1-11

Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, 'Thus says the Lord God," Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? 3 "You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. 4 "Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. 5 "And they were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered. 6 "My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill, and My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth; and there was no one to search or seek for them.""


7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 "As I live," declares the Lord God, "surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock; 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 'Thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I shall demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I shall deliver My flock from their mouth, that they may not be food for them."'"


11 For thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.


“Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.” Jesus seeks out the healed man who was put out (Joh 9:35).


Joh 9:35-41

Jesus heard that they had put him out; and finding him, He said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"  36 He answered and said, "And who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?" 37 Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you."  38 And he said, "Lord, I believe." And he worshiped Him. 39 And Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind."  40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things, and said to Him, "We are not blind too, are we?" 41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains.


In an interesting switch, seeing Him is changed to hearing Him.


Isa 6:10

Render the hearts of this people insensitive,

Their ears dull,

And their eyes dim,


We can all see how the two are related. In fact, seeing and hearing was prophesied by Isaiah. Jesus quoted the passage in Mat 13:14 – “And in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;

And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;’”


The “truly, truly,” (indeed and in truth) marks the transition from dialogue to monologue.


No doubt, the religious leaders in Israel would have claimed the title of shepherds of Israel. And acting as shepherds in their own minds, they ironically expel anyone who claims Jesus to be the Messiah, or the true Shepherd.


Joh 10:1-6

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 2 "But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. 4 "When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 "And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers."  6 This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.


Remember that this is a parable (vs. 6 “figure of speech” – paroimia (not parabole) = a wayside saying), which generally has one theme. God does not call upon us to interpret any of the details unless God does Himself. For instance, we know that Jesus is the Shepherd and the door, because He says that He is. Some want to interpret the doorkeeper as the Holy Spirit, but if Jesus has that in mind, there is no way for us to know. The thief simply doesn’t go through the door. He is not of Christ. The hireling doesn’t care about the sheep, for he does the job only for pay.


F.F. Bruce writes: “In my youth some shepherds in the Scottish Highlands not only called their individual sheep by name, but claimed that an individual sheep would recognize its own name and respond to it. In the picture here being drawn by Jesus it is the personal bond between the shepherd and his sheep that keeps them together as they follow his guidance; unlike a modern shepherd, the shepherd of Bible days did not have the assistance of a sheepdog.” [The Gospel and Epistles of John]


Jesus comes to His fold, Israel, (He will speak of another fold in vs. 16, Gentiles) and He calls out His own.


Isa 49:5

And now says the Lord, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,

To bring Jacob back to Him, in order that Israel might be gathered to Him


This is from the second Servant Song in Isaiah.


After healing the blind beggar, Jesus then becomes his Shepherd, protecting him from the harsh jealousy of the Pharisees.


Joh 10:7-9

Jesus therefore said to them again, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 "All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.


Jesus is both Shepherd and door, just like He is the Lord and the way.


There is no conflict or controversy with Him being both. He is not a man that can be limited to one thing.


Eze 34:14-16

"I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down in good grazing ground, and they will feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 "I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares the Lord God. 16 "I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.


The thief’s designs for the sheep are wholly malicious; the good shepherd’s plans for them are entirely benevolent. The shepherd desires and promotes their wellbeing. The Lord is for us and not against us. He is not content that His flock should eke out a bare and miserable existence; He wants us to live life to the full.

© Grace and Truth Ministries / Pastor Joseph Sugrue • cgtruth.org • All rights reserved.