The centurion and those who were with him at cross were keeping guard over Jesus. When they experienced the earthquake they became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” You would not have expected that this soldier would have eventually believed Christ was the Son of God. I rather suspect that this soldier had seen and heard much about Christ. I doubt that this was not the first time he saw Christ. The gospels tell us that all of Jerusalem was abuzz about Christ (John 12:9-10, 17-18). People were hearing about Christ, His teachings, the healings, the wonders and signs, and all that was occurring. When this soldier sees Christ die on the cross he says, “This is the Son of God.”
Jesus Said We Are Sinners
On one occasion Christ called the crowds unbelieving. On another occasion He said that they were wicked. Each time He said it was because they were looking for a miracle, proof of who He was. On another occasion He called the people sinners. In John 8:24 He said that we will die in our sins unless we believe in Him. That was a potent statement. Do you know what Jesus was saying about us? He said we are sinners. He said we are in deep trouble. I do not know what you are thinking about the person next to you, but the people around you are sinners. We are all sinners. There are not good people. We’re told that on one occasion Jesus was talking to a man, and made the statement that there was only one who was good—God! Do you know that you are not good? I am not good? There is only one who is good—God. So when Jesus called us unbelieving, sinners, and wicked people, those are not terms that we usually like to identify with. We do not like bring called a wicked person. That is who we are without the Holy Spirit working in our life.
I was thinking about Luke 19:10. Jesus said,
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 (NASB)
Those of us who have put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are no longer lost. But those who have never put their faith in Jesus Christ are lost. In fact, tonight, if you have never put your faith in Jesus Christ, if you have never repented of your sins, then you have a major problem. You are lost and going to hell—that is the problem.
Parable of The Door
In John 10, Jesus makes a very interesting statement. He describes Himself as being the door.
I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9 (NASB)
Now that is a simple verse. Christ says He is the door, and those who go through that door will be saved. Do you know what Jesus is saying? Jesus is saying that He is the door. There are not any other doors that you can walk through. There is only one door that you can walk through to be saved, and Jesus says He is that door. There are people who say, “There are many different ways to go to heaven,” but not according to Jesus. Jesus says He is the door. He is the only way that you or I can be saved.
Then He goes on to say and those who go in through the door will find pasture. Jesus is saying that we are sheep, and if you go through this door you will be saved and find pasture. That is what sheep want. Right? Sheep want pasture. Sheep want some place where there is water and food. That is what sheep want. You give sheep water and food and they are happy. Jesus is being symbolic but His point is that He is the door of salvation. If you go through the door or gate you will find pasture. In verse 10 Jesus continues,
You will have it abundantly. John 10:10b (NASB)
Now He adds that you will find pasture abundantly. That is the point. Have you ever heard the phrase that the Christian life is supposed to be abundant? The Good Shepherd gives abundant life. But in order to get it, you have to go through Christ. You must believe. You have to recognize that you are a sinner. You have to be repentant of your sins. You must recognize that you need to change, and God needs to transform you if you want to go to heaven.
Parable of The Good Shepherd
Jesus then goes on in this parable and speaks of a thief who tries to come into the sheepfold. He describes Himself as being the Good Shepherd. The thief is one who does not care about the sheep, but He is the Good Shepherd who cares about the sheep. What is amazing in this passage of scripture is that Jesus keeps talking about the fact that the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. Do you have any idea how many times He says that the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep in this parable? Do you think He said it once? Do you think He said it twice? Do you think He said it three times? Do you know what the answer is? Four times. Just in case the listeners did not get the point, He said the Good Shepherd will lay down His life for the sheep four times. Do you know what it means that Jesus would lay down His life for the sheep? It means He would end up hanging on a cross. Jesus had been telling the crowds and His disciples for a long time that the day was coming when He was going to hang on a cross. His disciples did not like that message. In fact the disciples actually struggled with that. Early in the ministry, Jesus told the crowds, “You tear down this temple”—talking about Himself—and in three days it would come back to life.
This parable is about the Good Shepherd, He says He is going to lay down His life for the sheep. Why is He going to do that? Watch this: He is going to help the sheep, and the sheep are what? They are wicked, they are perverted, they are unbelieving, they are sinners who have sinned. They are in trouble. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep.
Jesus Will Lay Down His Life
Now I want you to hear two interesting verses. Notice what Jesus said,
For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. John 10:17 (NASB)
Did you notice what He said?! He said two things.
For this reason, the Father loves me, because I lay down my life … John 10:17a (NASB)
That is statement one. What is He going to do? He is going to lay down His life. Now listen to what He says,
… so that I may take it again. John 10:17b (NASB)
Do you know what He is doing? He is saying that He knows He will die. He is also saying that He will come back to life.
Now you ask, “How can He do that?!” See the next verse,
No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. John 10:18a (NASB)
Jesus says, “Nobody is forcing me to do this. I am doing it because I have the authority to do it. I want to.”
I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father. John 10:18b (NASB)
Jesus says He has authority to take His own life, and He has authority to raise Himself up again. Think about being dead and having the authority, the power, to raise yourself back to life. He is talking about His physical body, not His spirit, because all of our spirits live forever.
He is the Good Shepherd. It was planned, it was purposeful, He knew what He was going to do, and when He says He has authority to do it, and He did it, do you know what that means? He loves you. He loves me. That’s what it’s all about. It’s a tremendous passage of scripture, the Good Shepherd is telling us what He wanted to do and would do. Six months later He did lay down His life. Six months later He hung on a cross.
Six months later a crowd chose between Jesus and Barabbas. The crowd picked Barabbas and Jesus died on a cross. After Christ died the centurion believed in Jesus.
So the question tonight is, “Who do you believe Jesus is?” We have discovered that Jesus shed His blood on a cross. When Jesus died He made forgiveness of our sins possible if you believe that Jesus is God, just like the centurion, and believe that Jesus did everything was necessary so that you could be saved. If you repent of your sins and want God’s forgiveness so that you can go to heaven, ask Him to forgive you and give Him your life. The question tonight is what will you do? Jesus is the only Door to abundant pastures.