Verses 1-4 read,
“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. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
When I first read these verses, it was confusing to me. Jesus is referring to Himself as the door, as He clarifies in verse 9 of this chapter, but when He continues speaking He says, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” To me it seemed He switched from being the door to being the one who entered.” I have always read these verses of Jesus description of the Good Shepherd that way.
He is speaking of Himself as The Good Shepherd. But I think He is also referring to Believers. Those of us that enter the sheepfold by the door, those of us who enter The Kingdom of God through Jesus, the only way is also a shepherd to the sheep. God, the gatekeeper opens the gate for us. He gives us a job, the provision to do it, and the opportunities to do it. When we become saved, we do not simply join a congregation and let the pastor do all the good work of God on earth. We enter the Kingdom of God and become joint heirs with Christ, shepherds to His people and a light to the world.
Jesus describes Himself as The Good Shepherd. As His followers we need to do follow His example and do what Jesus did and what Jesus does. Jesus had already explained in the first two verses that He is the only way to salvation. There is no other entry to The Kingdom of God except by Jesus. Verses 7-9 say it this way,
“So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”
He warned that some had come and would come and try and get in some other way. He called them thieves and robbers. In other scriptures we are warned against the false teachers and false prophets as well. God doesn’t like it when people use His name and His reputation to gain something from His people. He doesn’t like anyone speaking in His name when they are not. They come into congregations and they sound slick but we can recognize them for who they are and who they are not.
Verses 4-5 read,
“When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
Jesus says we recognize His voice. If we are in His fold, if we depend on our shepherd for all our needs, if he is our All in All then shouldn’t we know His voice when we hear it? Yes. But some of the sheep haven’t learned to depend on the Lord yet. Some might not have spent much time with Him and when a charismatic thief sneaks in with pretty words and a good sounding message they might not realize he doesn’t speak with God’s Word and they follow.
It is really important that we learn to distinguish God’s voice from that of the thieves and robbers, the false teachers and false prophets who are leading people with lies to the enemy and straight to Hell. If some of those around us can’t discern for themselves, then we need to be the shepherds we are called to be and speak God’s truth and do what Jesus would do to being His sheep to the pasture.
Verses 10-13 read,
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 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. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”
The good shepherd doesn’t abandon the sheep to the enemy to save his own life, he fights for his sheep up to and including giving up his life for them. Jesus laid His life down for us. We are expected to the same if the need arises. We are expected to be willing to sacrifice ourselves, our old lives, our selfish desires, and whatever else is needed in order to protect the flock.
Jesus told everyone listening He was the Good Shepherd. Verses 14-15 read,
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Don’t miss it. Jesus said that we are His own and we know Him the same way that the Father and He know each other. Our relationship with Jesus is one of unity with Jesus, a oneness that mirrors the singleness of the relationship between the Father and Son. Verse 16 reads,
“And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”
Jesus wants us to be one flock united, not many flocks divided. He is who we follow. We are united with Him and therefore united with one another. We have the same goal and that is to do the will of the Father. Everything Jesus did and every word from His mouth was at the dictate of the Father. Verses 17-18 read,
“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
Jesus came to lay His life down and take it up again. He came to die and rise from the dead so you and I could have a relationship with God, salvation. Jesus chose to do it. He willingly stepped down from Heaven. He voluntarily lived the life He lived. He gladly gave up His life. And He joyfully resurrected. He did it all because the Father wanted Him to do it. He did it because the Father loves us so much. He did it because He and the Father are one.
The Father hasn’t changed. He still loves the world. He still longs to have a relationship with each person and bring everyone to salvation. He has called you and me, Believer to be the shepherds and bring His sheep to pasture. You and I are one with Jesus as Jesus is one with the Father. We are the representation and manifestation of Jesus to the world. Don’t let the lost follow the thieves and robbers to Hell. Be the good shepherd you are called to be and speak with Jesus’ voice to lead the lost to Him the Good Shepherd.