John – “But Who Do You Say That I Am?” – John 10:1-10

We are in John Chapter 10. One of the main reasons why people, believers and unbelievers alike, are so resistant to the teachings of The Bible is because of what we are referred to as in The Bible…sheep. Sheep are the animals most mentioned in The Bible appearing a whopping 500 times! Being referred to as sheep many of us find that to be insulting. Sheep have no sense of direction unless someone is guiding them. In other words, they are dumb! This is a true story. In Eastern Turkey, a sheep walked off a cliff followed by 1,149 of his closest, fluffy companions! Because they were unattended, one of them walked off the cliff to his death and the rest followed. 400 of them died but 1100 of them survived because of the comfy cushioning afforded to them by the dead 400! LOL! That’s dumb but no different than we are as human beings because we make the same mistakes that others have made before us. In Isaiah 53, it says…

(6) All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; … Isaiah 53:6a&b NKJV

Sheep are also defenseless. They are docile animals for the most part. They are not scary. They don’t growl or show their teeth and you don’t see signs that say, “Beware of sheep”. Peter brings up this point of us being defenseless in one of his letters. In 1 Peter, he says…

(8) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. … 1 Peter 5:8 NKJV

Sheep will also settle for less just as long as it satisfies for the moment. Sheep will drink from a dirty puddle of water even if there is a clean, refreshing body of water not far from them because it satisfies for the moment. We as humans are the same way. We indulge in things that may not be good for us such as drugs, alcohol, sex or whatever else all because it satisfies our cravings for the moment not realizing that there is something far better for us if we would only seek for it. That is, a relationship with Jesus Christ. He compares us to sheep because just like sheep, we don’t always know what is good for us. Psalm 23 says…

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (2) He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. … Psalms 23:1-2 NKJV

Here in Chapter 10, Jesus continues His discourse from Chapter 9 with the Jewish leaders and the people. He compares them to sheep with Him as the shepherd. Let’s get into our text for this study and as always, the text link for the entire chapter and the audio is included so you can follow along. Let’s pray before we get started. …

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the Word of God that does the work of God in the hearts of the people of God. We thank You for this time in Your Word, a time where we put away all distractions, a time of reflection to see how our Christian walk is measuring up. Father, Your Word is truly a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Help us Lord to light it up more for us as we open up Your Word once more. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In Jesus’ name we pray…Amen!

John 10

Let’s look at the passage now…

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. (2) But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. (3) To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (4) And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. (5) Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” (6) Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. (7) Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. (8) All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. (9) I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (10) The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. … John 10:1-10 NKJV

The first thing that catches your eye right away is that the words are all in red all except for verse 6 and part of verse 7. I know that I intentionally put all words in red when it comes to Bible passages because I believe that ALL of the words in The Bible are important not just the words of Jesus but in your Bible, the passage should be mostly in red. Jesus was using terms and something that the people could easily identify with…shepherds and sheep. Being a shepherd was an important livelihood. Sheep were used as food, the wool for clothes, and they were also used for sacrifices in the temple as an atonement for sin. Before getting into the verses more in detail, there are some things that need explaining. There were two types of places where sheep were kept, sheepfolds. Two types of corrals. The first one was the village sheepfold and the second was the countryside sheepfold. The first six verses of this passage, Jesus is referencing the village sheepfold. In all villages, there was a central area where shepherds would put their flocks of sheep in at night. At the end of the day, the shepherds would put their sheep in, one by one, inspecting them to make sure nothing would infect the others. In the morning, the shepherds would gather up their flocks and then head out to the countryside and place them in sheepfolds there away from the village. Let’s look at the passage a bit closer now. …

vv 1-3 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. (2) But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. (3) To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

A lot of people think that the sheepfold represents heaven. That can’t be because in the passage, there are “thieves and robbers” climbing over walls. There won’t be thieves and robbers in heaven and no one can climb over walls in heaven because that would reference getting into heaven on one’s own power which again we know is not true. Some say that the sheepfold might represent salvation or the church but that can’t be true either because the passage talks about sheep being led out. God doesn’t lead anyone out of salvation. The sheepfold represents the nation of Israel and Judaism that has kept God’s people, the flock, safe until the Messiah could come. Remember in the original manuscripts, there are no chapter breaks so this in reality is continuation of the events of Chapter 9. In Chapter 9, Jesus is talking to the blind man that He healed and can now see who was kicked out of the synagogue because of his belief of who Jesus really is. The way the chapter ends, Jesus is talking with the Pharisees. Chapter 9 ends with a conversation with them. …

(39) And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” (40) Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?” (41) Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains. … John 9:39-41 NKJV

So coupled with the way Chapter 9 ends and what Jesus says in this passage in Chapter 10, it’s easy to see that Jesus is referring to Judaism and His coming as the Messiah.

Here’s another thing. Throughout the Old Testament, true prophets warned of the teachings of false prophets. Three of the major books that do that are the Book of Isaiah, the Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Ezekiel, where God speaks against false leaders, corrupt priest, wicked kings, false prophets who say things that aren’t true. An example of this is in Jeremiah 23…

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the LORD.  (2)  Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: “You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,” says the LORD. … Jeremiah 23:1-2 NKJV

The Pharisees believed themselves to be the rightful shepherds of Israel. It is to them that Jesus is addressing when He says Most assuredly I say to you. The sheepfold was an area surrounded by a fence and it only had one door, or opening, that the sheep could go in and out of. Throughout their history, many people came to the Jewish people claiming to be messiahs for the nation. They professed to be spiritual rulers and guides but they did not come the way that the Old Testament predicted. They had climbed up some other way. In other words, they had their own agendas, their own purposes. These were the thief and a robber. A thief is someone who takes something that doesn’t belong to them and a robber does the same but does so using violence. The Pharisees were the thieves and robbers that Jesus was talking about here. They sought power to rule over the Jews and also thwarted their attempts to accept the true Messiah. They persecuted those who followed Jesus, like the blind man who had just been healed by Jesus and had been kicked out of the synagogue because of his belief of who Jesus was. The ultimate persecution would be when they would finally put Jesus on the cross!

Verse 2, Jesus refers to Himself being the shepherd of the sheep. He entered by the door, meaning He came the correct way, the way the true Messiah was predicted to come. He came the exact way that the Old Testament said He would. As a matter of fact, Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophesies in the Scriptures. In Galatians 4, Paul says…

(4) But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, … Galatians 4:4 NKJV

Too many to list here, but some of these prophesies were…

  • Seed of a woman (virgin birth) – Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14, Jeremiah 31:32
  • Born in Bethlehem – Micah 5:2a
  • The Son of God – 2 Samuel 7:14a
  • Called the Christ (Messiah or Anointed) – Psalm 45:7-8
  • The One Sent by God – Isaiah 6:8
  • Called Emmanuel (God with us) – Isaiah 8:8
  • Offer salvation to all mankind – Joel 2:32

In verse 3, there could be a few meanings of who the doorkeeper is. The doorkeeper could mean the prophets in the Old Testament that foretold of the coming of Christ. It could also refer to John The Baptist who pointed the way to Jesus. He was the forerunner of the true Shepherd. However the most logical explanation of who the doorkeeper is, is that it has to be Jesus Himself because He calls his own sheep by name. During this time, sheep had no branding or external markings so the shepherds could not distinguish their sheep from other shepherd’s sheep when they were in sheepfolds together simply by sight. The way they would do that is to call out or sing out in a particular pitch or tone that the sheep that they owned would recognize. Jesus the true Shepherd knows all who are His own and He calls us by name. If you remember, Jesus gave His disciples various names. For instance, He called Peter, Cephas, which meant a stone. James and John, He gave the names Boanerges, Sons of Thunder and so on. The expression and leads them out probably refers to Jesus leading the people at the time who heard His voice out of the bondage of Judaism. There was no liberty in the Law. They were shut up and enclosed. Jesus leads His sheep, His followers, into the freedom of His grace. The Pharisees did not hear Jesus’ voice. They were not only spiritually blind, they were spiritually deaf also.

vv 4-5 – (4) And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. (5) Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

The flock will never go ahead of their shepherd. The shepherd always leads and the sheep follow. In life application terms, we as Christians should never surge ahead of our Shepherd trying to follow our own way with Jesus following us. Our Shepherd should always be leading us. Sheep know who their true shepherd is and they will not follow the voice of strangers. There was this case in Australia that was brought to court of a shepherd who was accused of stealing another shepherd’s sheep. Both insisted that the sheep were theirs. The judge decided that the only way to solve this case was to have the shepherds call them. The sheep were brought into the courtroom. He started with the shepherd who was making the accusation and asked him to go outside and call the sheep. When the shepherd went outside and called out, the sheep didn’t budge but just raised his head and looked scared. Then the judge asked the other shepherd to do the same. The shepherd called out and the sheep perked up and ran towards his owner. The judge decided that the sheep belonged to him and the case was closed. The same instinct that enables a sheep to recognize the voice of the true shepherd also prompts it to flee from a stranger. The strangers were the Pharisees and other leaders of the Jewish people who were only interested in the sheep for their own personal advantage. The man who received his sight illustrates this. He recognized the voice of the Lord Jesus but knew that the Pharisees were strangers. Therefore, he refused to obey them, even though it meant being kicked out of the synagogue. Those who are true sheep of Christ follow Him. They do not become sheep by following His example, but by being born again. Then when they are saved, they have a desire to go where He leads.

vv 6-7 – John 10:6-7 NKJV Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. (7) Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

They in verse 6, were the Pharisees. Again they were spiritually deaf and did not understand what Jesus was saying to them. If you know your Bible, John’s Gospel is the only one that does not contain any parables but here it does seem like Jesus is speaking to them in parables. In fact in the King Jimmie version, KJV, the word illustration is replaced by the word parable. The Greek word used for parable here though is not the Greek word parabolē. It is the Greek word paroimia which means illustration or a better word for it, metaphor or allegory. A parable is a story but here Jesus is using metaphors or an illustration. These Pharisees though did not understand. In Matthew 13, Jesus says…

(9) He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” … Matthew 13:9 NKJV

The Pharisees couldn’t hear because they lacked the ears to hear. They were not able to hear the words of God because they had no desire to much like many people today. God tells Isaiah…

(9) And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ (10) “Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed.” … Isaiah 6:9-10 NKJV

You can read The Bible over and over again until the cows come home but the fact is if you don’t read it with a seeking heart, you will never get anything out of it!

Now in verse 7, Jesus uses a different illustration. Jesus comes out and says I am the door of the sheep. Jesus now says that He not only came in through the door but that He is the door of the sheepfold. The sheepfold not only represents the nation of Israel but it now represents a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In the sheepfold, the shepherd was the only way for the sheep to go in and out of the pen. He was the door or gate that would let them in and out. Jesus Christ is the only door to God and salvation. He offers access to safety and security. Christ is our protector. Many people resent the fact that Jesus is the only door or way to God. This includes a lot of so-called Christians who believe their are multiple ways or doors to God. Moving on to verse 8 and finishing out the passage…

vv 8-10 – (8) All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. (9) I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (10) The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

All that came before Jesus, the false prophets, rebellious kings, they were all thieves and robbers. They had come before Christ, claiming authority and position. But the elect sheep of Israel did not hear them because they knew they were claiming what did not rightfully belong to them. Now in verse 9, Jesus makes His third “I am” statement…I am the door. Jesus didn’t just claim to be the door of the sheep but the door period. Jesus is the one and only door to salvation. Many of us think there are other doors and gates to salvation. The fact is though, there is only one and that is through Jesus Christ. That door or gate, is not wide either, it is extremely narrow as Jesus points out in Luke…

(24) “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. … Luke 13:24 NKJV

Christianity is not a creed, or a church. Rather it is a Person, and that Person is the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation can only be received through Christ. Baptism will not do; neither will the Lord’s Supper. We must enter in by Christ, and by the power which He gives. The invitation is for anyone. Christ is the Savior of Jew and Gentile alike. But to be saved, a person must enter in. He must receive Christ by faith. It is a personal act, and without it there is no salvation. Those who do enter in are saved from the penalty, the power, and eventually from the very presence of sin. After accepting Jesus as our Savior, we are able to go in and out and seek pasture. Christ will guide our every step through life. It brings to mind, again, the words of Psalm 23…

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (2) He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. (3) He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. (4) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. (6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever. … Psalms 23:1-6 NKJV

The purpose of the thief is to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. He comes for purely selfish motives. In order to gain his own desires, he would even kill the sheep. But the Lord Jesus does not come to the human heart for any selfish reason. He comes to give, not to get. He comes that people may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. We receive life the moment we accept Him as our Savior. After we are saved, however, we find that there are various degrees of enjoyment of this life. The more we turn ourselves over to the Holy Spirit, the more we enjoy the life which has been given to us. We not only have life then, but we have it more abundantly. That last part of verse 10 is one of the verses in The Bible taken out of context and used to promote the “Health, Wealth, & Prosperity” gospel. It is a false doctrine taught in many churches that tells you that if you give your life to Christ, you will always have blessings and no misfortune and if you do have misfortune, it means that you don’t have enough faith or no faith at all. That is not what Jesus means here though when He says, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. It doesn’t mean an abundantly lavished life in this lifetime. It means eternal life. Jesus came to die on a cross to save mankind and to have an abundant life, eternally with Him but only if you accept Him into your heart!

So to wrap up this post, that is what I’m going to give you a chance to do right now, right where you’re sitting. You don’t have to go on a long pilgrimage or anything like that. You don’t even have to go to church if you don’t want to. Many of us can’t right now anyway because our government won’t allow it but they can’t stop you from accepting Jesus into your heart and life though!

Whether an unbeliever or a believer wanting to make a fresh start, just pray this simple prayer. Doesn’t matter what you say as long as it comes from the heart. Just say…

“Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you. Amen.”

If you’ve prayed the above prayer with a sincere heart, then you are saved. I pray with all of my heart that you prayed the above prayer! For those of you who have made a decision to accept Christ today, I would love to hear from you or if you have comments, good or bad, I’d love to hear from you as well. The e-mail address for my blog has changed. It is now thechristianpatriot2020@gmail.com God bless and keep the faith!