Scriptures covered in this post are from John 10:1-21 NASB. This one is a little on the long side but it’s worth it. There is some pretty powerful truths in this portion of John.
10 “Truly, truly I say to you, the one 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 the one who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep listen to his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he puts all his own sheep outside, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 However, a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus told them this figure of speech, but they did not understand what the things which He was saying to them meant.
Quite often Jesus spoke in parables when teaching, as He does now, but in this particular case Jesus uses a shepherd and his sheep as a figure of speech in John 10:1-5 and then after John identifies that they did not comprehend or understand how Jesus was associatiated with the shepherd and sheep, Jesus breaks it down for them in John 10:7-21, so that there is no misunderstanding. And note how many times Jesus says “Truly, Truly” or if you are of a KJV background, “Verily”, Verily”. That’s Jesus’ way of saying “heads up, this is really important and you don’t want to miss this!”
A sheepfold was a walled enclosure or high fence made with stakes and having one door or gate; often the enclosure was a cave. A doorkeeper was normally an under shepherd and the shepherd would know and call each sheep in his flock by their names. Notice that the shepherd leads his sheep and the sheep follow him and the sheep will only follow the shepherd whose voice they are familiar with.
In like manner, as we become familiar with God’s Word, we become attuned to God’s ways and thoughts, so that when we encounter something that is not in accordance with God’s ways and thoughts, we are aware of the difference, or deviation from God’s norm and we would not be comfortable moving in a direction or doing that which is foreign to God’s ways or thoughts. Also, God’s leading through His thoughts that come to our minds through the leading of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, would also be in accordance with God’s Word. And most importantly, the more time that someone spends in God’s Word, the stronger this awareness becomes, so the sheep knowing the voice of the shepherd does have a direct correlation with us being guided by God’s Holy Spirit, which is always, in accordance with, God’s Holy Word.
7 So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All those who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.
Note that Jesus indicates that He and He alone is the only door, there is no other. This correlates with many other Scriptures that state the same thing, one of which would be that “. . . No man comes to the Father except through me” as stated in John 14:6. The reason for this is quite simple. Only Jesus was without sin and only Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead. Jesus, the Son of God is the only one that God our Father sent, to do for us what we in and of ourselves or anyone else for that matter, could never do. Jesus also states that He is the door. Some shepherds lay down across the entry of the sheepfold at night to sleep so that wild beasts would be discouraged from entering and the sheep would be protected from exiting. Thus, the shepherd is also the door. Note also that whosoever enters through Jesus, will be saved. We are talking about eternal life in and with God. John 3:16 comes to mind.
11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters the flock. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own, and My own know Me, 15 just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice; and they will become one flock, with one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it back. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it back. This commandment I received from My Father.”
And just in case that we don’t get the specific connection, Jesus categorically tells us that He is the good shepherd that lays down His life for the sheep. Jesus is not a hired hand, He comes directly from our Heavenly Father and He is of the Father, Jesus the Son of God. The coming crucification of Jesus on the cross for our sins did not come as a surprise, Jesus knew exactly why He had been sent and what laid in store for Him down the road. And we, who believe in Him and trust in Him, are His sheep.
You will recall that many times, Jesus clarifies that He had been sent to preach the Good News to Israel. But here, in verse 10:16 you see Jesus make mention of other sheep that are NOT of this fold. That would be us, who are Gentiles. And notice that these two different flocks, Jews and Gentiles will become one flock. Galatians 3:26 and Ephesians 2:16 comes to mind, plus many other Scripture verses too numerous to mention.
John 10:17-18 are very important verses. Why does God the Father love His Son? Because Jesus willingly accepted to fulfill the will of His Father by voluntarily laying down His life for us. The Lamb of God that who away the sin of the world. And even though the crucification of Jesus on the cross would be brought about by the Roman authorities, Jesus makes it clear that it was NOT their authority and power which would bring about His death, it was because Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be subjected to death, so that we might live in Him. And then note those last two statements made by Jesus. “I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it back. This commandment I received from My Father.” Jesus’ death on the cross was no surprise to Jesus and neither was His resurrection. And note the confidence that Jesus speaks of concerning this truth. “This commandment I have received from My Father”. Imagine any normal human being actually saying this, before it actually happened. Yes, you’re right, it just would not happen, which partially explains why Jesus is the Good Shepherd and the door, not to mention the only begotten Son of God.
19 Dissension occurred again among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?” 21 Others were saying, “These are not the words of one who is demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of those who are blind, can it?”
Remember the fact that prior to Jesus healing the blind man, no one, ever, up until that point in time, had made a blind man see again. That healing was special because it was associated with what the Messiah would do and while there were some who would not recognize the voice of the good shepherd in their midst, there were some who seemed to be open to hearing, because of the healing that Jesus had done in their midst. That was the dissension.
More to follow . . .
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!