True shepherds go through Jesus. He is the gate to the sheep. He came to give us life to the full. He is our Good Shepherd. He and the Father are One.
VERSE 1. “Most certainly, I tell you, one who doesn’t enter by the door into the sheep fold, but climbs up some other way, is a thief and a robber.
enter by the door. A shepherd would enter through a gate into a walled area which had several flocks in one sheep pen.
the sheep fold. This was a low stone wall. It encircled an area that was open to the sky. It was guarded at night by a doorkeeper to prevent thieves and beasts of prey from entering.
a thief and a robber. Anyone who would climb the wall would do it for no good purpose. This is a synonym for the Pharisees or other religious leaders. They do not enter the sheep fold by the Gate of Jesus Christ.
the shepherd of the sheep. In the ancient Middle East, it was common for kings and priests to call themselves shepherds and their subjects sheep.
VERSE 3. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out.
The gatekeeper. That is, the watchman.
opens the gate for him. The watchman opens the gate, and the shepherd comes in to call his own sheep by name (out from the other flocks).
the sheep listen to his voice. Those who follow Jesus Christ listen to his voice.
John 20:16. Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him, “Rabboni!” which is to say, “Teacher!”
VERSE 4. Whenever he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
John 20:16. Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him, “Rabboni!” which is to say, “Teacher!”
VERSE 5. They will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him; for they don’t know the voice of strangers.”
VERSE 6. Jesus spoke this parable to them, but they didn’t understand what he was telling them.
Most certainly, I tell you. Jesus wishes us to be convinced of this.
I am the sheep’s door. Jesus is the gate. He is a door that we go through to enter the Father’s kingdom.
VERSE 8. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them.
VERSE 9. I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture.
If anyone enters in by me. Jesus sees himself as the way for people to be saved.
he will be saved. Jesus describes himself as the gateway to eternal life.
VERSE 10. The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.
I came that they may have life. What was the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ? How did he himself define it? Here are the verses we find in the four gospels.
NIV translation. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy,
The thief only comes to steal. The first goal of the thief is to steal. They steal from their sheep. The Greek word used here for steal is klepto. You’ve probably heard of a kleptomaniac. Kleptomania is a deep-seated psychological compulsion to steal. A klepto has to steal. The things that a kleptomaniac steals are often of trivial value. But nonetheless, it’s still theft.
Thieves (or religious leaders) are relentless in stealing from Christ’s sheep. They steal from them things even of small value. If they’re wiling to steal things of small value, they are also willing to do much worse.
The thief only comes to … kill. The second goal of the thief is to kill. They kill their sheep. The Greek word used here for kill means to sacrifice, to immolate, to slay, to slaughter.
The thief has not an ounce of good intentions with regard to his sheep. Of course, in public, he plays nice and puts a good face on his actions. He’s skilled at deception. He’s probably lulled his sheep into liking him. He’s won their esteem. They trust him. They’re loyal to him. But make no doubt: the false teacher will kill his sheep.
One way he will kill them is to kill their faith in Jesus Christ. And why not? Since the false teacher, the thief, isn’t centered on Jesus Christ but upon himself, he’s not capable of promoting faith in Jesus Christ. He tells his hearers lots of wonderful-sounding things. He might even tickle their ears with things they want to hear, or happy little stories that inspire. But he doesn’t draw them into a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ.
The thief only comes to … destroy. The third goal of the thief is to destroy. They destroy their sheep. The Greek word for destroy means to ruin, to abolish, to lose, to render useless.
The religious leaders of Christ’s day were all those things. Sure, there were some rare exceptions, such as Nicodemus. But mostly, they exploited their lofty position as well as the people they should care for. They were clever enough that they were able to conceal their corruptness. They were just bad shepherds.
And in our day, we have no shortage of bad shepherds. They have not gone away. They find their way; they gravitate toward every religious or spiritual movement that has a power structure. They claw their way to the top. From there, they abuse their leadership authority. They steal, kill and destroy.
Daniel 8:24. His power will be mighty, but not by his own power. He will destroy awesomely, and will prosper in what he does. He will destroy the mighty ones and the holy people.
Daniel 11:44. But news out of the east and out of the north will trouble him; and he will go out with great fury to destroy and utterly to sweep away many.
John 10:10. The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.
I came that they may have life. The first goal of Jesus Christ is that we have LIFE. The Greek word is zoe. It’s a word rich in meaning. It means you’re filled with vitality. You’re animate. You have the absolute fullness of life. Your life is active and vigorous. Jesus Christ came that you might have a life that’s filled with vitality.
Christ’s Goal #2: abundance. Jesus wants you to have that zoe life in abundance. That is, over-and-above, exceeding, further, superior, extraordinary, surpassing, uncommonly, pre-eminently, remarkably. Jesus is out to build you up, to remarkably high levels.
Amos 5:6. Seek the LORD, and you will live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, and there be no one to quench it in Bethel.
John 11:25. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies.
and may have it abundantly. The second goal of Jesus Christ is that we have that zoe life in abundance. That is, over-and-above, exceeding, further, superior, extraordinary, surpassing, uncommonly, pre-eminently, remarkably. Jesus is out to build you up, to remarkably high levels.
In comparison with what the thief does, who wouldn’t want what Jesus has to offer? Yet in our day, sadly, many people settle for shepherds who are thieves.
Psalm 143:3. For the enemy pursues my soul. He has struck my life down to the ground. He has made me live in dark places, as those who have been long dead.
Psalm 144:14. Our oxen will pull heavy loads. There is no breaking in, and no going away, and no outcry in our streets.
Revelation 16:15. “Behold, I come like a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his clothes, so that he doesn’t walk naked, and they see his shame.”
I am the good shepherd. The idea of Jesus Christ as the good shepherd is very famous. It originates with this verse.
VERSE 12. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who doesn’t own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep, and flees. The wolf snatches the sheep, and scatters them.
VERSE 13. The hired hand flees because he is a hired hand, and doesn’t care for the sheep.
VERSE 14. I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and I’m known by my own;
VERSE 15. even as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep.
VERSE 16. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice. They will become one flock with one shepherd.
I have other sheep, which are not of this fold. That is, the Gentiles.
Mormons claim that after Jesus ascended into the heavens, he went to Central America and preached to the Indigenous Peoples. However, their theory is not consistent with biblical texts such as Mark 16:19 which says he ascended into heaven. It does not say he ascended into Central America.
Mark 16:19. So then the Lord, after he had spoken to them, was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
VERSE 17. Therefore the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again.
VERSE 18. No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down by myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. I received this commandment from my Father.”
I have power to take it again. Will Jesus Christ resurrect himself? Or does God the Father do it?
VERSE 19. Therefore a division arose again among the Jews because of these words.
He has a demon. People said Jesus Christ was possessed by a demon.
He .. is insane! People said he was insane!
VERSE 21. Others said, “These are not the sayings of one possessed by a demon. It isn’t possible for a demon to open the eyes of the blind, is it?”
the Feast of the Dedication. That is, Hanukkah. It is an eight-day festival of lights.
Solomon’s porch. That is, the Portico of Solomon. It was on the east side of the temple, and blocked the cold winds coming from the desert.
VERSE 24. The Jews therefore came around him and said to him, “How long will you hold us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
VERSE 25. Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you don’t believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, these testify about me.
VERSE 26. But you don’t believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I told you.
VERSE 27. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
VERSE 28. I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
NIV 1984 translation. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
I give eternal life to them. This is remarkably clear. Jesus did not see himself as a “good teacher” or a rabbi with a slightly different message. Rather, he saw himself as the one who grants eternal life!
They will never perish. We will not be snuffed out or eliminated.
no one will snatch them out of my hand. Nobody can take us away from Jesus.
Isaiah 43:13. From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done. (NLT translation)
VERSE 29. My Father who has given them to me is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
My Father, who has given them to me. God the Father has decided to give individuals to Jesus Christ.
is greater than all. This could also be rendered, “What the Father has given me is greater than all.”
I and the Father are one. The Greek word for “one” is ἕν (“hen”). It means they are one thing. Many Christians assume Jesus was an ordinary person like us, but astutely gifted. However, that is dangerously wrong. God the Father and God the Son are one. They are one thing.
VERSE 31. Therefore Jews took up stones again to stone him.
VERSE 32. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?”
VERSE 33. The Jews answered him, “We don’t stone you for a good work, but for blasphemy: because you, being a man, make yourself God.”
you are gods. This is a reference to the judges of Israel. When they officially judged, it was a divine prerogative. This was taught in Deuteronomy 1:17:
Deuteronomy 1:17. You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be afraid of the face of man, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.
Psalm 82:6. I said, “You are gods, all of you are sons of the Most High.
VERSE 35. If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture can’t be broken),
VERSE 36. do you say of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You blaspheme,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?’
VERSE 37. If I don’t do the works of my Father, don’t believe me.
VERSE 38. But if I do them, though you don’t believe me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”
VERSE 39. They sought again to seize him, and he went out of their hand.
VERSE 40. He went away again beyond the Jordan into the place where John was baptizing at first, and he stayed there.
VERSE 41. Many came to him. They said, “John indeed did no sign, but everything that John said about this man is true.”
John indeed did no sign. John the Baptist did no miraculous signs. Rather, the sign he offered was baptism.
VERSE 42. Many believed in him there.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.