“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear 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 does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. John 10:1-11
The True SHEPHERD
Given the obvious presence of metaphors in the above Scripture text, it is easy for us simply to focus on the analogies being drawn by the LORD. But JESUS is doing more than comparing Himself to either the door of a sheepfold or to a shepherd. He is teaching HIS followers about HIS legitimate claim to lead, provide, and protect. As we study the LORD’s WORD’s, we will find comfort in both HIS knowledge of HIS people and HIS willingness to sacrifice Himself for those who follow HIM. If anything, this should motivate us to faithfulness.
Stressing HIS legitimate right to lead and protect HIS people, JESUS declared, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber” (John 10:1) Here, JESUS referenced the sheepfold- a place designed to provide safety to the sheep, but HE does so with the intent of contrasting Himself with those who seek to do harm to the flock. Unlike the thieves or robbers, the shepherd is able to enter the sheepfold properly-through the door. When he approaches, the doorkeeper will allow the legitimate shepherd to enter, and that individual will gather his sheep and lead them to the fields.
JESUS is a good SHPEHERD; faithful disciples will hear (understand and heed) his voice; they will not listen to strangers (false teachers) who would lead them astray. People, thus, indicate whose sheep they are by whose voice they follow! The voice of JESUS is heard through HIS WORD which has been revealed to us by inspired men.
The Door of the Sheep
To declare JESUS to be the door of the sheep is to say HE is the only portal to safety. Those who looked for safety from any other religious leader looked in vain. To emphasize HIS concern for HIS followers, JESUS contrasted what HE offered with what others sought to take. He declared: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have it more abundantly”(John 10:10). With these words, JESUS was not simply issuing a proverb. Instead, HE was developing the contrast between those who would harm the sheep and the One who provided care and protection.
Unlike the hirelings who would flee when danger approached (John 10:12), JESUS- the Good SHEPHERD- would willingly sacrifice “HIS life for the sheep”. This could certainly be done if a shepherd willingly stood between his flock and a wild beast (1 Samuel 17:34-36). But JESUS was willing to do much, much more. Far from being accidental, JESUS death is precisely what qualifies HIM to be the good SHEPHERD-a point presupposed in Hebrews 13:20, which acknowledges JESUS to be ‘that Great SHEPHERD of the sheep” . JESUS is clearly more concerned for HIS flock than any hireling could be (John 10:13). HE did not flee from danger; HE willingly faced death.
The Knowledge of the Sheep
JESUS legitimacy, unlike that of the religious leaders of HIS day, is perhaps best seen in HIS knowledge of HIS followers. Just as the shepherd knows the animals under his care, so JESUS knows and is known by HIS disciples. Stressing this point, HE stated, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own” (John 10:14). This knowledge is neither shallow or overstated. There is a communion existing between the disciples of the LORD and the LORD himself of understanding, love, fellowship, and regard that may properly be compared, in degree, at least, wit that existing between the FATHER and the SON”.
Because of this knowledge, JESUS was motivated to “lay down HIS life for the sheep”. Lest anyone think JESUS died for only one race of people, HE made clear HIS death was for many. He noted, “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear my voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:16). HIS death makes it possible for all men-both Jews and Gentiles-to be saved.
Let’s TALK it OVER
What does Jesus call the one who does not enter the sheepfold by the door (John 10:1)?
Who enters the sheepfold by the door (John 10:2)?
Why do the sheep follow the shepherd (John 10:4)?
Why will sheep not follow a stranger (John 10:5)?
Why does the thief come (John 10:10)?
What does the good shepherd do for the sheep (John 10:11)?
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