1 ¶ Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. 6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. 7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 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. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 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. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
In context, Jesus assaults the authority of the Pharisees and the rest of the Jewish religious hierarchy, the spiritual rulers of Israel. He that enters the sheepfold or pen, is coming to lead the sheep out. Think of the sheepfold as the Jewish faith, the religion of the time. If anyone tried to come into the pen in any way other than the door, he was a thief and a robber. One who was a rightful shepherd comes in by the door, which the porter, the doorkeeper, (see 1Chronicles 9:21) opens for him. Jesus is the door which the Holy Ghost as the porter opened and Jesus is the Good Shepherd who called His sheep by name. Now apply that to Christianity and the local church. Will your name be called?
1Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
The shepherd leads His sheep and the sheep follow Him. They know His voice. If they are really His people they won’t follow a false leader, such as the Pharisees presented. Jesus’ true followers will not follow a Joseph Smith, a Mohammed, a Buddha, a Lao-tse, Sun Yung Moon, L. Ron Hubbard, a Pope claiming to be the vicarious Son of God, an Independent Baptist “man o’ God” who runs a cult, or any number of false shepherds.
The Pharisees don’t understand so Jesus tells them that He is the door of the sheepfold. Speaking directly to the Jews He states that every teacher that has come before Him, obviously that tried to lead them astray with their false traditions, was a thief and a robber. The sheep didn’t hear them. There are obviously Jews who never followed the Pharisees and the Sadducees, who weren’t touched by their teaching, who had no shepherd, as there are unsaved people today who the traditional American church did not reach and could not reach because of the false standards that we have set up that have nothing to do with Christ’s or Paul’s teaching.
In verse 9 Jesus declares that He is the door and it is by him that a person will go in or come out and find heaven, what the pasture represents. While the thief comes to steal and kill, Jesus came to give abundant life that never ends. The Bible scholar who removes the Bible from the hands of the laity and declares that if you do not know Greek or Hebrew you cannot understand the Bible is a thief. The expert who bases his reasons for criticizing the Bible on the existence of one corrupt manuscript and ignores all of the other evidence such as the writings of the early church fathers, lectionaries, and ancient Bible versions seeks to destroy and kill the faith of the people.
Jesus declares that He is the good shepherd who gives His life for the sheep, a prediction of His crucifixion. The hireling runs when the Devil comes to scatter the sheep and seeks his own safety. There are preachers whose love isn’t for their congregations but for their salaries, annuities, and celebrity status.
Jesus, being the good shepherd, knows who are His and they know Him. They are not following one of the aforementioned, nor will they. In verse 15 Jesus says that the Father knows Him as He knows the Father, and then, for understanding of why He said that there is a colon and afterwards the statement that He lays down His life for the sheep. The crucifixion and resurrection are in God’s plan for mankind’s redemption. They are in agreement because they have one will, one desire, and one purpose. It is impossible for the three parts of God not to be in agreement because they are three parts of the same person not three persons.
In verse 16 Christ acknowledges that He has other sheep which are not of the Jews, not of Israel. He will bring them and they will be one flock of sheep, belonging to Him. Notice Paul’s reference to the church comprised of believing Jews and Gentiles;
Ephesians 2: 11 ¶ Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, [notice how that phrase defined strangers as aliens by parallel phrasing] having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14 ¶ For he is our peace, who hath made both one,[Jew and Gentile] and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [there are Jews, Gentiles, and the Church; see1Corinthians 10:32] so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body [the Church] by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.[the Church consists of people representing a building for God not an actual brick and mortar building we set aside to worship in after the second century].
All the sheep, Jew and Gentile, shall be gathered together in one Church, by virtue of Christ’s will for it to be so. There is a foolish preacher in the state of Texas who insists that Jews don’t need to be saved and he is doing great evil by preaching that. There are unbelieving Jews, unbelieving Gentiles, and the Church; consisting of both believing Jews and Gentiles. Period.
God the Father loves the Son because He lays down His life for this plan and suffers the humiliation of being God, naked on a Cross, suffering that degradation and agony for His love of mankind. And Christ has the power to lay down His life voluntarily and to take it up again in the Resurrection from the Father.
John 2:18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Notice in verse 17 that Jesus lays down His life so that He takes it up again. The Cross is not the end of the story although, for some reason, most preachers like to focus on it and ignore the Resurrection. But, the Resurrection is the foundation of Christianity, for without it there is no hope. If Jesus had just died for our sins then there would have been no proof of His Godhood and no point to our worship of Him as many good men, many deceived men even, have died for a cause, never to rise from the grave.