Explore The Bible: I Know My Own

2:12 PM

While most of our stress levels go up when we know we are going to go through security checks like the ones many of us have experienced at an airport or a major event, we realize that it is designed for our personal safety and security. Yet we always breathe a sigh of relief when we are finally through the process because we know we are cleared for entry. The Explore the Bible Study: I Know My Own, focuses on a different kind of security. It's the security provided by The Good Shepherd.

As we examine John 10, we will learn of how Jesus provides security for believers, and we will identify ways we can rely more fully on the security He offers.  He used the shepherd-sheep analogy to speak to the difference between His ministry and that of the Pharisees.

If want to see a great video overview of the passage, check out this VIDEO from Campus Crusade. It gives you a glimpse into Jesus’ interactions as He tells the story of the Good Shepherd.

If We are His Sheep, We Can Feel Secure Knowing Jesus Guides Us – John 10:1-6

The key elements described in this setting include a sheep pen, the gate to the sheep pen, those who desire to steal the sheep, the shepherd of the sheep, and obviously, the sheep! The Sheep Pen was an enclosure typically comprised of a cave, a wall, or a fence of some type. Typically, shepherds kept their sheep corralled at night to protect them and provide basic security from wild animals. The “door” would have been a single-entry gate by which sheep could enter and exit the pen. The doorkeeper attended the door or gate and allowed access to those who entered the sheep pen including the sheep.

The motives of those who weren’t legitimate shepherds were personal gain. They only came to deceive so they could steal and destroy the sheep. 

How do false teachers, religions, or ideologies “rob and steal” today?

Jesus tells us in this passage that “the sheep hear his voice." He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. In the ancient sheep pens, there were usually more than one shepherd’s sheep in the pen. This passages states that those who knew their shepherd’s voice responded by following Him. The evidence that the sheep were part of the shepherd’s flock were: they heard his voice, he called them by name, he led them, they follow, he goes ahead of them, he protects them, they never follow a stranger but actually run away from strangers.

What does the evidence described have to do with feeling secure? 

How do they compare with having a personal relationship with Jesus? 

How does the fact that Jesus knows your name as His sheep make you feel more secure, even when you are “outside of the sheep pen?”

How does going out of the sheep pen with the shepherd leading relate to how we, as believers, should live our faith? 

The sheep that respond to the shepherd in Jesus’ analogy represent God’s people. In the world of shepherding, the shepherd developed a relationship with his sheep, whereby they came to recognize his voice. Sheep gained a sense of security from the one who constantly provided green pastures, still waters, and a secure place to bed down.

If We are His Sheep, His Security Provides Us Protection and Provision – John 10:7-10

Jesus had already indicated that the religious leaders were robbing people of their security instead of offering them security through a growing relationship with God.

Jesus uttered the third of His seven “I am” sayings recorded in John’s Gospel when He said “I am the gate”(door). Jesus used these sayings to identify Himself as God’s Son. Jesus proclaimed to be the only legitimate access (gate) to God for people needing forgiveness, life, and security. No one could enter the security of the sheep pen or go out to find food and water except through Him. Following Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, would give them security because they would be saved—rescued, liberated, and preserved. The Good Shepherd would protect them, and He would provide for their needs—find pasture. 

How does Jesus’ promise of salvation, protection, and provision help you deal with those times when you feel insecure?

Continuing His application of the shepherd-sheep illustration, Jesus declared, “I am the good shepherd.” This is the fourth of seven “I am” sayings in John’s Gospel. Jesus shifted His emphasis from being the access to the sheep pen to being the Good Shepherd.

Being His Sheep Means we have a Shepherd Who Died to Rescue Us. – John 10:10-18

Jesus’ audience would most likely remember Amos 3:12 as Jesus described the sacrifices a shepherd would make to save his sheep: As the shepherd snatches two legs or a piece of an ear from the lion’s mouth, so the Israelites who live in Samaria will be rescued with only the corner of a bed or the cushion of a couch. A shepherd took his job so seriously that he would actually lay down his life for his sheep. Many times he had to prove to an owner that he did everything he could to protect the sheep from thieves and predators. The picture God paints in this passage is that of a shepherd who tried every way possible to protect the sheep. His proof that everything possible was done was that he would at least present a body part that he snatched from the lion’s mouth.

Additionally, 1 Samuel 17:34-35, describes David as a shepherd who knew how to protect his father’s sheep. He placed his life in danger to rescue his father’s sheep.

Also notice the progression in these verses in John:  I know my sheep – they know me – The Father knows Me – I know the Father.  We can experience the same kind of relationship with Jesus and the Father as they have with one another. What security! Jesus also reveals that his sheep include both Jews and Gentiles. He continues to emphasize that salvation is for all who hear His voice and follow.

In verse 17, “I am laying down my life so I may take it up again” refers to Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection. When Jesus states in verse 18, “on My own,” He indicates that He chose to die. It was not dictated to Him by circumstances. It was an intentional choice because of His love for the Father and His sheep!

As a result of Jesus’ discourse, debate and division arose among the Jews. Some said Jesus was demon-possessed and insane, while others countered that a demon-possessed person could not speak as Jesus did or give sight to the blind as He had done. Then, in verses 22-30, Jesus was back in Jerusalem for the Festival of Dedication, which took place during our month of December. While Jesus was walking in the temple complex in Solomon’s Colonnade, the religious leaders surrounded Him and demanded that if He was the Messiah, He should say so plainly.

It was at this point that Jesus not only responded to them, but He also stated emphatically that He guarantees eternal life to those who hear His voice and follow Him because He is God’s Son.

If we are His Sheep, Jesus Gives Us a Guarantee—John 10:25-30 

Jesus declared that He and the Father are one. This affirmation is one of the most precise statements of Jesus’ Deity in the Bible. Believers can feel secure precisely because the Father and the Son are united in their love for sinners, in their quest to save sinners, and in their very being as God. Notice the words Jesus used to define the security we have when we follow Christ: eternal life, never perish, no one could snatch His followers from His hand.

In light of the guarantee in these verses, why do believers still fail to rely on Jesus for their security? How should knowing you are completely secure in Christ change the way you live? The way you view life?

Do You Hear His Voice? How Secure Are You?

Throughout these passages, Jesus emphasized that His sheep hear His voice, He knows them, and they follow Him. He also emphatically stated that those who don’t believe, aren’t His sheep. Only those who are His sheep can experience true security.

Imagine that you are so secure in your relationship with Christ that you respond to Him as the Good Shepherd like these sheep respond to their shepherd


Think about people you know who don’t know Christ. As you consider Jesus as the Shepherd, what thoughts or feelings do you have about the spiritual insecurity those people face? What can you do to help them see that you are secure in Christ?

What hinders you from hearing the voice of Jesus and following Him? What changes might you need to make this week to walk more closely to Him so you can more easily hear His voice?

Perhaps you have realized through a study of this passage that you aren’t secure in your relationship with Jesus. Consider talking with the Lord or someone about how you can resolve the lack of security you may feel.

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study, along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. 

Download PDF Version

Download Word Version

LifeWay Explore The Bible Resources

These teaching helps are intended to be used as a supplement to your study of Lifeway's Explore the Bible curriculum resources. Portions of this material are taken directly from content copyrighted to Lifeway Christian Resources Explore the Bible and is used with permission.  This material has not been reviewed by Lifeway Christian Resources. 

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