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.
Prophecies of the Messiah as Shepherd:
- Psalm 80:1 — Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth!
- Isaiah 40:11 — 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.
- Ezekiel 34:12-15 — 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. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord GOD.
door (v. 1) — simply the lawful entrance contrasted with climbing in as a thief.
Sheepfold (v. 1) = Judaism. Shepherd = Messiah. Thieves = Pharisees and other false leaders who claimed to be the Messiah.
door (v. 2) — Scripture. The true Messiah enters according to the prophecies in Scripture.
porter/doorkeeper (v. 3) — The Holy Spirit vouched for Christ. John the Baptist prepared the way (John 1:31).
Only the sheep given Him by the Father followed Him (v. 3) — He led them out of Judaism with its contraints of law. Jesus Christ called the entire nation of Jews, but only His flock responded.
calls His own (v. 3) — like the blind man in John 9:38
illustration = parable (v. 6) — similitude (Greek – paroimia) "It's like this … " Jesus told this parable to the Pharisees, but because of their blindness, they didn't understand.
There are three doors in this passage: Sheepfold (v. 1); Sheep (v. 7); Salvation (v. 9).
Three things about the true Shepherd:
- He enters lawfully — according to the Scriptures
- The porter lets Him in — heralded by John the Baptist
- The sheep know His voice — His own knew Him (blind man)
The blind man had been cast out of Judaism, but was in the care of the true Shepherd, away from thieves and robbers.
There are two kinds of sheepfilds in Israel. One near a large village or town was a communal fold, where various flocks werre kept at night. The owners of the sheep hired a porter — a doorkeeper or guardian — and he let in only those shepherds whom he knew personally as rightfully belonging to the sheep. The other kind of fold was out in the hills and away from any village. It frequently was a walled enclosure, without roof, and had a small hole in the wall through which the sheep entered at night and across which the shepherd lay to sleep — so that the shepherd was, indeed, a door. Nothing could enter or leave unless the shepherd allowed it. — Opening the Gospel of John, by Philip W. Comfort and Wendell C. Hawley, page 165.