The Good Shepherd, John 10:6-21

“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.” John 10:1-3.

“Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.” John 10:6.

Jesus was speaking to Pharisees, knowledgeable Jews of His day; should they have understood Him?

When Jacob blessed his son Joseph he spoke of God’s strengthening Joseph and in turn alluded to God’s Shepherd the Stone of Israel.

“But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel)…” Genesis 49:24.

The Stone and the Shepherd are one and the same.

The Stone of Israel mentioned above, is again referred to in Psalm 118.

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.” Psalm 118:22.

The Apostle Peter also quotes from the Old Testament about the Stone who is also the Shepherd.

“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’ Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.’ They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.” 1 Peter 2:4-8.

Again the Shepherd is mentioned in Psalms.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1.

“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth!” Psalm 80:1.

The Shepherd is also mentioned in prophecies which were fulfilled at the Lord’s incarnation, while some are still future.

“Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.” Isaiah 40:10-11.

“Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’” Jeremiah 31:10.

“For thus says the Lord God: ‘Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.’” Ezekiel 34:11-12.

“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man who is My Companion, says the Lord of hosts. Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered…” Zechariah 13:7a.

When you can, read these passages too, Matthew 26:31, 56 and Mark 14:27.

As religious leaders, these Pharisees would be familiar with some of these shepherd Scriptures, many, in fact would have memorized huge blocks of Scripture.

Whatever the reason for their lack of understanding, the Lord continues His discourse, but He changes the illustration.

After calling His sheep out by name in verses 1-5, Jesus now becomes the door to salvation and freedom from the stifling aridity of the religious teachings of the day or the law.

“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.” John 10:7-9.

Representing Himself here as the door, Christ tells us that He is the door to salvation, which is open to anyone who desires to enter in. Here is another passage which says essentially the same thing.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6.

I am the door, I am the way, Jesus is the doorway, if you will. This simplifies the explanation of the process of salvation, to enter heaven, you go through the doorway.

How do you do this? Simple, you just walk through. Scripture tells us to “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8a, the door is open to whosoever will come.

There is no other way, Jesus made this plain when He said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6b.

There is another great promise here.

“…he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9b.

Once a person is saved the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within them, and as the Lord said earlier.

“…out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38b.

No longer under law, but under grace, one is no longer burdened with the constraints of the law or religiosity. Rather they come into the freedom of the Spirit, who has written the law upon their heart causing them to become more Christlike.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18.

“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.” John 10:10.

The thieves and robbers described earlier are false Christs, or false teachers, the ungodly in general who present themselves as godly, bringing others under their bondage.

The thief in verse 10 can also be these same folks, but the true thief is Satan. It is he who robs us of an abundant life, kills the soul, and destroys us by enticing us to sin and then ensnares us in that sin.

“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2:14-15.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But he who is a hireling and not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” John 10:11-14.

Consider David who killed a lion and a bear as he defended his father’s sheep. It was courage, responsibility, and a love for the sheep that made him stand his ground.

And it was God who strengthened him in conflict both there and in battle with Goliath, see 1 Samuel 17. And God too gave His life for His sheep.

“As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 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 10:15-16.

As the Father knows Me, I know the Father, is another claim to deity by the Lord. As we have seen in other places, God’s thoughts are continually of us, the following verse is one example.

“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.” Proverbs 5:21.

When you ponder this verse, it becomes apparent that God our Creator, who ponders all of our habits, knows far more of all 7.5 billion of us than we do of Him.

In fact it will take an eternity to learn a fraction about Him. If Jesus were just a man how could He know as much of the Father as the Father knows of Him? Only God incarnate could say such things, or claim that He came down from heaven.

“And other sheep I have which are not of this fold…” John 10:16a.

The Mormons teach that the other sheep in this verse were the ten lost tribes which had migrated to the Americas, and that after Jesus’ death, He came here to preach to them.

This is a grave error; the so-called ten lost tribes were not lost, they were just lost track of. Many were dispersed throughout the Roman Empire, while many were right there in Israel; God can account for every one of them, even today.

The other sheep which are not of this sheepfold are the Gentiles; fold, or sheepfold, being the keyword here, meaning those Israelites under law as seen earlier.

“…them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:16b.

Here is why it was emphasized that a sheepfold is a pen for sheep; Jesus will gather all that are His, Jew and Gentile into one flock with one shepherd.

This is why it is so important to carefully read Scripture; a fold (sheepfold) is a circumference without a center, a flock is a center without a circumference. Jesus is the center of this new flock.

“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of division between us, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” Ephesians 2:14-16.

“…there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3:11.

The word Greek encompasses the meaning of Gentiles.

“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” John 10:17-18.

“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life…” in the councils of the Godhead in eternity past it was decided to create mankind.

Knowing that man would fall, God had first to decide how to redeem him, and who would have to die to do so, it was God the Son who accepted the task.

The Father has eternally loved His Son Jesus, but He loves Him the more for His obedience, courage and self-sacrifice in living a sinless life on this earth as a Man and then enduring the unspeakable torment of paying for our sin on the cross, so we could be with Them in eternity.

Jesus said of His life, that no one could take it from Him; He had power to lay it down and power to take it up again. Again this is something that no man could say of himself.

People have attempted suicide and survived, perhaps mangled, crippled, or disfigured, but alive. True, many succeed, but it was still up to God to allow such a thing; suicide can be risky business.

Please, if such a thing has crossed your mind, try putting your life in God’s hands first, it would be a far better fate.

It does not matter whether a person is a Christian or not, the demons rejoice when a life is ended prematurely. Do not give them the satisfaction.

Incredibly, Jesus also said that He had the power to take it up again. No one can make that claim.

The fact of the resurrection proves that God has accepted Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. This alone should give us peace in our salvation.

Not only did He die for our sins but He rose again for our justification and is seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us with His gaze continually upon us for our good.

“Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. And many of them said, ‘He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?’ Others said, ‘These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?’” John 10:19-21.

Again there is a division, as it has been ever since. Contention over Christ is one thing but it is the fools, the sons of Belial (meaning, worthlessness, wickedness) who sink to the level of saying He has a demon.

Others who are at least reasonable reply, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

Whatever doubts one may have about the claims of Christ or of Scripture, it is important to be honest with oneself, weighing matters carefully not dealing with hysterical arguments.

This is the last entry in the record of a day in the life of Christ.

“Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps truth forever, who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; but the way of the wicked He turns upside down.” Psalm 146:5-9.

The Good Shepherd, John 10:6-21 taken from posted on 1-8-13, updated on 11-28-17.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

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