The Shepherd of the Sheep

Scripture Reading

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. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

John 10:1-2

Two key phrases

This week’s scripture reading on the shepherd of the sheep is the start of a larger parable that Jesus shared with the Jews and it spans the first 18 verses of chapter ten. It is recommended to take careful note of two phrases while reading the entire parable in its context. These are the phrases “the door” and the “good shepherd”. Of the six times the door is used in the book of John four of them are used in this parable to the Jews. Of the five times shepherd is used in the book of John all of them are used in this parable. Repetition in speech has its place and this is one of them to help drive home and illustrate an important and synonymous point that Jesus is not only the door but also the good shepherd. Since this is described in the form of a parable however what does he mean when he calls himself the door and the shepherd?

The door

Both words, the door and the shepherd have things in common in that one is a point of entry or entrance and the latter is the one who leads people through that entrance. Note how Jesus emphasizes entering the door at the beginning of this parable because people who try to enter in by any other way are described as thieves and robbers. In the context of a spiritual application, Jesus is speaking about salvation through him and only through him. To briefly jump down a few verses, this point is illustrated in this parable when Jesus says, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” [John 10:9]. The phrase, saved, is in reference to being saved from the penalty of sin which equates to salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. Other references of this are found in many parts of scripture (John 3:17, Acts 2:21, Rom. 10:9, 1 Cor. 1:18) just to name a few verses.

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

John 10:9

The good shepherd

As this parable continues on we are then introduced to another statement made by Jesus when he states, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” [John 10:11] This comment is in tandem with Jesus as the saviour of the world (John 4:42) because it was prophesied centuries before that Jesus will save his people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). Hence, as the good shepherd, Jesus gives his life for the sheep and in this illustration, the sheep are his people, or believers in him. Believing in him, or in what he did on the cross as the sacrificial atonement for your sins along with his death, burial and resurrection from the dead is what Christianity is all about. Consider how the apostle Paul described it in this passage, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” [Rom. 10:9-10]

The way of salvation

This is Jesus dear seekers of faith, Jesus is the door of the sheep, or the entrance to salvation and Jesus is the good shepherd of his sheep to those who believe in him. Have you ever given this thought to your own life? Most people go through their daily life often giving no thought as to why they are here, why they were born, why they exist and what will happen to them when the day comes when their heart stops beating. While the thought of this may sound morbid to some people where many will simply say that we just go back to the earth and that there is no such thing as our soul and spirit the Bible says something completely different. Did you know the scriptures say that, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” [Heb. (;27] The old maxim and certainty of death and taxes are true for all. Regardless of how long we will live on this earth, we will all die at an appointed time.

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

John 10:11

But this should not in any way give notion for dismissiveness over this event in life or any concern of fear because the door of our salvation and the good shepherd of our souls is ever present with us. Jesus does not want us to just be familiar with him as though he were similar to other known prophets or preachers throughout history. The Bible says that there is salvation in no one else but Jesus (Is. 43:11). The scriptures continue on in the book of Hebrews by stating that, “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” [Heb 9:28] Jesus is indeed the door, Jesus is the good shepherd but mere awareness of this fact is not the way of salvation.

Believe unto salvation

Jesus wants us to believe in him, he is the shepherd of the sheep. Did you know one of the most prominent preachers in the New Testament called John the Baptist preached this same message about Jesus. He stated that, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” {John 3:26]. For some people, this may cause offence to think that salvation in Christ is only presented in an either or manner, especially in contrast to our pluralistic society where the mantra of acceptance and love regardless of moral consequences is preached by many. But the Bible stands for something. Jesus stood for something and his painful sacrifice on a Roman cross stood for something. It was the only atonement for your sins that you will ever encounter in this life (Acts 4:12).

This is why John the Baptist stated this message of ultimatum to the multitudes, to believe on the Son for everlasting life or to believe not on the Son and you will not see life; rather the wrath of God will abide on you. Little wonder, the scriptures describe Jesus Christ as the rock of offence ( 1 Pet. 2:8) because for many this message is viewed as offensive. But in reality, it is offensive because people want to think that all roads lead to salvation, that all ways lead to heaven, that all religions lead to the promised land. Sadly, these are lies and deceptions of the devil, from the pit of hell, from the one who desires to deceive you and lull you into thinking that false is true and true is false (John 8:44). Here is your opportunity dear seeker of faith, you have read this far for a reason. You have come to this site because your soul and spirit is looking for answers from the shepherd of the sheep.

Abundant life

Seek no further, because the Bible states from the words of Jesus that he is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). The Bible states that he is the great I am that existed before eternity was ever comprehended by humanity (John 8:58). This is now your time to make the decision for Jesus, to believe in what he did on the cross to atone for your sins, to receive him by faith for the salvation of your soul and spirit for now and eternity. Let us close off this Bible study on the shepherd of the sheep with this message that Jesus stated in the same parable, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” [John 10:10] Will you come to him now to have life, life eternal and to have it more abundantly? This is your time to believe in him and to be saved now and forever!

Bible Study Questions

  1. In this study about the shepherd of the sheep, can you name the two key phrases from this parable that figuratively describe Jesus?
  2. Why do you think Jesus described people as thieve and robbers who try to enter into heaven other than by him?
  3. How would you summarize the way of salvation as described in the Bible?
  4. Who in the Bible was offered to atone for our sins?
  5. What was the key word that John the Baptist stated to receive eternal life? Hint, it starts with the letter B.
  6. Fill in the blanks from John 14:6, Jesus saith unto him, I am the __________ the __________, and the __________: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
  7. How would you describe abundant life in Christ as described in John 10:10 from this study called the door of the sheep?

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