1 "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. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. 7 Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 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. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is 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. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 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. 17 Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 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."
Questions to Consider:
To understand what Jesus is trying to communicate in His teaching on the sheep, you need to put it in the context of Jesus trying to reason with the Jews. Generally speakers will come to v.10 and identify the thief as the devil. (It is true that the devil is a thief and a liar, however, Jesus is still addressing the Jewish leadership in this passage)
Jesus has been telling the Jews that He has been sent by the Father. Now He contrasts His motives with the motives of those that are not from the Father. V.1 Those who do not enter by the door are thieves and robbers. So, who is the door? Just in case they missed the point, Jesus tells the Jews straight out v.7 "I am the door of the sheep."
What this means is that the Pharisees and Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus, who did not enter by the door, were the thieves and robbers that Jesus was referring to. Jesus goes on to say that anyone who enters through Him (the door) will be saved.
The "thief" could ultimately refer to anyone, any institution or any argument that rejects Jesus. The rejection of Jesus has dire consequences. Whereas Jesus brings life, the thief brings death and destruction.
V.11 Jesus now calls Himself the good shepherd and contrasts His standing with that of a hireling. The good shepherd will put His life at risk to save the sheep. A hireling runs at the first sign of danger. The good shepherd knows His sheep and His sheep know Him.
V.16 Many theologians believe that Jesus is referring to the future inclusion of the Gentiles into the family of God. The Gentiles are possibly the "other sheep which are not of this fold." Ultimately, there will be one flock and one shepherd as the Gentiles are converted to Christ.
Jesus concludes by referring to the atoning work that is in the near future for Him. v.17,18.
One thing that becomes apparent in both verses 17 and 18, Jesus fully understands the mission and the ultimate conclusion where He is resurrected from the dead. He will lay down His life as a ransom. (Matthew 20:28) He will conquer death, hell and the grave. He understands that He has the power to take back His life. We continue to celebrate His great victory to this day.
Lead Teaching Elder: