The True Shepherd

A father was telling his young son the story of a young lamb that one day found a hole in the fence and wandered away from the fold. He told of the terrors and dangers faced by the sheep. He told of how the shepherd went out into the cold, stormy night seeking the lamb, and of th … More


Jesus opens this passage with an illustration, one that every listener would have understood. Thieves and robbers attempt to enter the sheepfold by climbing over the wall. A sheepfold normally consisted of four walls of stone, with one door and no roof. The fold is Israel (v. 16), and the thieves are the Jewish leaders who were trying to lead Israel while avoiding Christ, the door (v. 1). A true leader enters by the door and is the only shepherd of the sheep (vv. 2-4). The true shepherdhas a unique relationship with his sheep. He calls them by name and goes before them. The sheep hear his voice and follow Him. They will never follow a stranger, choosing to flee instead, because they don’t recognize their voice (v. 5). The Pharisees did not understand this illustration (v. 6). 

Christ explained, “I am the door.” The shepherd would guard his flock at night by lying across the opening. He was the only entrance into the fold (vv. 7-8). The Scribes and Pharisees attempted to enter the fold without using the door. Again, Jesus emphasized that He is the door (vv. 9-10). If any man enters in, he will be saved and find pasture (v. 10) referring to abundant life or the constant nourishment necessary to maintain life. The scribes and Pharisees steal, kill, and destroy. The True Shepherd came to save the sheep, but the false shepherds take advantage of them. Christ gives life (salvation) and gives it abundantly (v. 10). Besides being the only door into the sheepfold, Christ is also the good shepherd (v. 11). He is good because He gives his life for the benefit of the sheep (Ps 23). Jesus is contrasted with the false shepherds who oversaw the Jewish religion of that day. The scribes were merely hirelings who had no true love and concern for the welfare of the sheep (vv. 12-13). In the moment of danger, hirelings run away.



A shepherd is out in front leading his sheep and not behind driving them. Jesus is a good shepherd who does not drive His sheep but goes before them and they follow Him. In my leadership responsibilities I want to be in front with a banner and not behind with a whip.

John 10:1-13 (English Standard Version)

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