John 10:7-12
John 10:7 (KJB)
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
Jesus now tells them plainly that He is the door of the sheep. Now He is building upon the earthly example to give a major spiritual truth. The only way that a person can become part of the “sheep” of Jesus is to go through Him. He is the only way of salvation and keeping the law does not in any way make a person saved. The law was to show that because of our sinful natures, there is no possible way that we can ever keep it and that failure leads to the reality that we need a Savior. If we are to have salvation, it does not come through the law but by grace through the Lord Jesus Christ and then we can become the true sheep of the Lord, that is, the saved ones for eternity. In verse 2 and 3, the porter opens the door for the true shepherd to enter because he knows the voice of the shepherd.
John 10:8 (KJB)
All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
In verse one, Jesus stated that those who do not come by the door of the sheepfold are nothing but thieves and robbers. These criminals come to steal the sheep for their own benefit. Those who claim to be teachers and preachers of the Gospel but bring a false gospel are the thieves and robbers. They bring a false gospel to further their own agenda and they do not care about the eternal destiny of their followers as long as they are revered and kept well-watered with money. The true sheep or the true Christians who heard these false teachers did not identify with them because their spirit did not bear witness with what was being taught and therefore the true Christians rejected it. Jesus here is speaking about the false leaders who had added to the word of God and made it conform to the standards that they themselves could not keep. They used their positions to further their own agenda of wealth and luxury. They are spiritually dead and therefore the teachings they bring are also dead but the regenerate are living so they will reject these false teachings.
John 10:9 (KJB)
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
Here Jesus reiterates the fact that He is the door to salvation. The law is not the door to salvation but Jesus Himself is. Salvation is by grace alone. Once a person becomes saved, they enter the sheepfold which is a metaphor for the body of believers. The believer is now in the Kingdom of God as a child of God represented here as a sheep in the sheepfold of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus says that once they go through the door and enter the sheepfold, they must also go out for pasture because sheep cannot find pasture within an enclosed area. It is like many Christians who limit their ministries to their local church. They need to go beyond the walls of the sheepfold and find pasture, just as regular sheep do. What does it mean to go out? It does not mean that a person can lose their salvation and leave if they want. That is not what is in view. To go out means that the believers will be taken to green pastures outside the pen under the watchful eye of the Shepherd. (Psa 23:2 KJV) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. No longer does the believer live in fear but they are now at peace with God and that is why we can lay down in green pastures and leads us to calm waters which is the Gospel that feeds our soul. The world and its teachings fill a person with the anxiety of the world but the Gospel brings peace to the true believer even in the midst of a world of anxiety. Wherever the believer is sent to minister, they will find pasture in the word of God and from the Good Shepherd Himself and they give us boldness to bring that word because it gives strengthening peace.
John 10:10 (KJB)
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Steal - Embezzle or cheat
Kill - Slaughter or sacrifice
Destroy - Ruin, perish, or lose
Now Jesus is stating the real motives of the false teachers. They do not come to enhance or strengthen the life of anyone. There are three results of their ministry. The first one is to steal. False teachers not only steal money and goods from their hearers but they also steal the truth of the Gospel and do not preach it because they do not even know it. Secondly they kill their hearers. The type of killing here is that they sacrifice them for their own agenda. They do not care that the people are being led to slaughter aka to Hell by their false teaching, they want these people in their sheepfold so they can control them by their words. The third result of these false shepherds is that they destroy the people. Not only do they walk in spiritual darkness while on earth, that spiritual darkness will lead to eternal damnation. These people will also be destroyed by means of their lack of spiritual discernment which has been taken from them by the false teacher.
Jesus then contrasts Himself as the Good Shepherd with those who come with nefarious intentions. Jesus came to give His sheep life in contrast to the eternal death the false teachers bring. When a person is regenerated, their soul now goes from being dead to being alive eternally. Eternal life begins at the point of salvation not physical death. Jesus speaks of this life as abundant which is above measure. Not only does the believer have the abundant life here, but it continues on into eternity. Since Jesus is the Good and True Shepherd, His sheep will have abundant life in contrast to the death knell of the false teachers. It is just a shame that too many Christians walk around like they are still under the authority of false shepherds. They may be saved, but they don’t look like it. It is time to stop looking religious and be the Christians God saved us to be.
John 10:11 (KJB)
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
Good - Excellent, noble, fair, beautiful
In ancient times the Kings of Israel had thought themselves to be the shepherds of their people. In fact, the sceptre which many kings had actually came from the design of the shepherd’s staff. Jesus is the excellent example of what a shepherd should be. Many times shepherds in the fields have given their lives to protect their sheep. Remember that in ancient times, animals such as bears and lions roamed freely and close to the towns. If a lion was hungry and smelled sheep, he may make an effort to kill a sheep and if the shepherd was not up to the task of defending it, he may try and kill the lion or he may run and leave the sheep at the mercy of the lion. In verse 11, Jesus is using the metaphor of the sheep and shepherd in describing the fact that He will not run but stay and defend the sheep even at the giving of His life. He is making reference to the fact that He is going to die on the cross to pay for the sins of the elect sheep of God. This is the difference between the true shepherds and the false shepherds who only use the flock for their own agendas.
John 10:12 (KJB)
But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
Hireling - Hired servant or laborer
Here Jesus contrasts the mindset of the hireling and the shepherd who owns the sheep. The hireling will see a wolf or some other wild animal approaching the flock and probably says to himself, “they don’t pay me enough for this,” so instead of putting up some kind of defense for the sheep, he flees to save his own life and he could not care anything about the sheep. In fact, to flee, means to run with rapidity as one flees from a fire. This hireling didn’t just walk away, he ran and when someone is running, they normally do not look back. The results of his fleeing is that the wolf will catch a sheep and kill it, while at the same time the rest of the sheep scatter putting them all in danger of being consumed by wild animals. This verse gives us good warning about the same mindset which pervades the false teachers and preachers. They don’t care about the flock, they just care about their own welfare. Then when tough times come to a church, they run away to another church.