John 10:1-It is still the Feast of Booths (7:1). Jesus has already been engaged in 4 discourses/debates, this is the 5th. Jesus tells a parable about men entering the fold of the sheep (sheepfold, the pen or enclosure where sheep are kept). If a man does not enter through the door, but climbs over the wall…he is a thief (this word speaks of a person who does something by stealth, secretly, cunning…perhaps by talking his way in…we get our word “kleptomaniac” from it), a robber (this word speaks of someone who does something by assault, he attacks brutally…he forces his way in). No matter how a person accomplishes it…if he enters the fold by any means other than the door…he is not the shepherd. But, if he comes to the door and the doorkeeper recognizes him and allows him to enter…he is a shepherd of the sheep. The sheep in that fold will follow him because they recognize his voice and follow him, willingly (:1-5).
Sheep recognize the voice of their shepherd from the voice of others…
THE following report on shepherding in the Middle East casts interesting light on Jesus’ illustration at John 10:2-5, wherein he speaks of the sheep as knowing the voice of their shepherd and their being given names:
“The modern shepherd . . . has a wonderful memory, which retains the name of every sheep. The flocks sometimes contain several hundred, and yet each one has a name and the shepherd knows it, and calls every sheep by its proper name. . . . [One observer] tells of watching shepherds with flocks upon the slopes of Mount Hermon: ‘Each shepherd . . . trains his sheep to come at his call, to go in order, in twos or fours, in squares and circles; one from the outer circle in a flock of a thousand will come when its name is called.’ It is the voice of the shepherd that the sheep recognizes.
“A stranger once declared to a Syrian shepherd that the sheep knew the dress and not the voice of their master. The shepherd said it was the voice they knew. To prove this, he exchanged dresses with the stranger, who went among the sheep in the shepherd’s dress, calling the sheep in imitation of the shepherd’s voice, and tried to lead them. They knew not his voice, but when the shepherd called them, though he was disguised, the sheep ran at once at his call.”—Orientalisms in Bible Lands, by E. W. Rice, pp. 159-161.
Jesus Says: Look! I am standing at the door and knocking. If anyone hears “my voice” and opens the door, I will come into his [house] and take the evening meal with him and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)
The Pharisees (cf. 9:40) did not understand what he was talking about (:6). Jesus tells them that He is the door of the sheep…and that anyone who enters through Him will be saved. Since the shepherd would position himself a the entrance to the fold, he was sometimes referred to as the door. There have been others who have tried to claim the sheep as theirs…but they were the thieves and robbers He just spoke of. There were many of these people in the days of Jesus…false Messiahs and false teachers who tried to claim that they had been sent by God.
False teachers and messiahs:
They want the sheep for their own benefit. But Jesus comes for the benefit of the sheep. He says that He is the “good shepherd”. This is seen in the fact that He is willing to die in order to protect the sheep (:11-13,15) . It is also seen in the intimate relationship that He shares with them. A relationship that is similar to that which He shares with the Father (:14). He has sheep in that fold (Israel), and sheep in another fold (gentiles)…and they all become part of one and the same flock.
(Ryrie Study Bible), 10:11 I am the good shepherd. As Good Shepherd, Christ gave his life for His sheep and became the door to God’s fold (v. 7); as the Great shepherd (Heb. 13:20-21), He rose from the dead to care for His sheep; as Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4) He will come again for His sheep.
Jesus makes it clear that He will lay down His life by His own volition…no one will take it from Him, force Him to do so (this speaks of His death on the cross). And, he will take it up, again (this speaks of His resurrection). There was deep division among the Jews over Him because of what He said…they could not understand it. Again, they return to the demon possession argument. And yet, others still agreed that only a man from God could have healed the man born blind.
Prayer: Lord, again we hear Jesus making it clear that He is the only way, the only door, to You. Please help me to lead people to Him.