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

Shepherding
Jesus opens this passage with a familiar illustration that every listener would understand. 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 refers to Israel (v. 16), and the thieves and robbers refer to the Jewish leaders who are trying to lead Israel while avoiding Christ, the door (v. 1). There is evidence of a thief and robber who comes to do mischief to the flock and damage to the owner. A true leader enters by the door and is the only shepherd of the sheep (vv. 2-4). The true shepherd has a unique relationship with his sheep. He calls them by name and goes before them. The sheep respond by hearing his voice, knowing his voice, and following Him. They will never follow a stranger (v. 5). Their reaction to a stranger is totally opposite to that of the shepherd. They flee. They are not acquainted with the voice of strangers.

The Pharisees did not comprehend this story of the shepherd and the sheep (v. 6). Christ begins His explanation with the same statement that He began His story, “I am the door.” The shepherd would guard his flock at night by lying across the opening. Entrance into the fold is by Him and Him alone (vv. 7-8). The ones who came before were the scribes and Pharisees who attempted to enter the fold other than through the door. Again, Christ emphasizes that He is the door (vv. 9-10). If any man enter in, he shall be saved (note, they might have life refers to salvation). Also, that person will 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 the sheep. Christ gives life (salvation) and gives it abundantly (v. 10).

Application

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 out in front with a banner and not behind with a whip.

John 10:1-13 (English Standard Version)

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep."

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