The Parable of the Good Shepherd


John 10:1-18  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.


I.    Verse 1-5 is the parable.  Verse 7-18 is the explanation of the parable.


II.   Is this parable speaking about salvation, the security God's people have in the good Shepherd, the Christian life in following the Shepherd, or about the rejection of the Jews (as a nation) and the acceptation of the Gentiles (in the local church)?

A.  The main thrust of the parable speaks about the comparison between the good shepherd and the thief and robber.

1.   This is a parable of the Good Shepherd, not a parable about sheep.

2.   Let us continue to look at the overall thought Christ wants us to understand, and not get so bogged down with the details that the overall thought is missed.

B.   Also involved in the parable is Christian growth initiated by the Good Shepherd.

1.   Salvation is always the first thing.

2.   After salvation, the natural next step is to follow Christ in scriptural baptism.

3.   The next step after following Christ in baptism naturally involves eating spiritual food and growing to maturity.

C.   Verse 9.

1.   There is an entering in by way of the door, which is salvation.

2.   There is also a going in and out by way of the door, and finding pasture (food, which will allow the person to grow to maturity.

a)   The going in and out of the door doesn't mean that a person can be lost once they are saved.

b)   Going in and out of the door isn't talking about spiritual swings of emotion.

c)   The going in and out speaks of the natural growing process of always following Christ as He leads us beside the still waters, restoring our soul, and providing that which is necessary for our spiritual maturity.

D.  Verse 10.

1.   Christ came to give life to the sheep.  (This is talking about salvation.)

2.   He also came to give them life more abundantly.  (This is talking about spiritual maturity.)


III. There is a difference between the true Shepherd and the false shepherds.

A.  Christ is the Good Shepherd.

1.   Christ is the door.

a)   What do you go through the door to get?

(1)  Verse 9 - He shall be saved.

(2)  Verse 9 - He shall go in and out.  (only as led by the shepherd, who is Christ)

(3)  Verse 9 - He shall find pasture (that is - food, in this case spiritual)

2.   Verse 11 - The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.

a)   The hireling fleeth when danger comes because he only wants what will be beneficial to him, he careth not for the sheep.

b)   If the sheep are scattered, and the hireling still receives what he wants, he doesn't care.

3.   Porter - the person in charge of the gate.  Such persons served at city gates (2 Sam. 18:26; 2 Kings 7:10), Temple gates (1 Chron, 9:22,24,26), the doors of private homes (Mark 13:34), and even the gate of a sheepfold (John 10:3).  Women also served this function (John 18:16-17; Acts 12:13).  It seems the porter would be God the Father, who has elected from before the foundation of the world, and given those to Christ. 

a)   The porter refers to God the father, who holds all things in his own hands.

b)   It is God the Father that so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth might be saved, John 3:16.

c)   All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me, and He that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out, John 6:37.

d)   No man can come to Christ except the father shall draw him, John 6:44.

e)   The shepherds God sends to tend His flock should stand by them, as long as they will allow him to.

B.   False prophets.  These are people (whether pastors prophets, or members who want others to follow them instead of following Christ.

1.   The hireling is a person that is simply working for a wage.

a)   The wage may not be money, it may be personal prestige, or power.

b)   God has not necessarily called the wolf to the task, but he has accepted the position (and the money) as a means of feeding himself.

2.   Ezk 34 shows that Christ is the good shepherd, that he will rebuke all bad shepherds, and will return to help the sheep.

3.   Ezk 34 - These unfaithful shepherds have fed themselves at the expense of the flock.  This is why pastors are not to be guilty of desiring filthy lucre.  God will take care of them, supplying all their needs.  The pastor is to trust God for his daily necessities while serving the flock, searching out good pastures for them.

4.   Jeremiah 23:1-3 speaks of bad pastors which scatter the children of Israel by telling them lies in the name of the Lord.

a)   Jer. 23:9-13 declares the result of the false prophet's message upon God, Jeremiah, and the people of Judah.

b)   God will judge these false prophets

5.   Matt. 7:15 - Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

6.   Acts 20:29-30 - For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you,  not sparing the flock 30  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

7.   Zech. 11:1 - Christ will strengthen the sheep that have not been fed by the shepherd.


IV. Verse 8 - Those false shepherds that came before Christ.

A.  The word "before" not only refers to those false shepherds that were born before Christ was born into the world, it also refers to those false shepherds that would set themselves up as superior to Christ, regardless of when they lived upon this earth; before Christ or after Christ.

1.   Verse 10 - The thief is Satan, and all his imps, which represent Satan on this earth.

2.   They are the wolves in sheep's clothing.

B.   Verse 8 - The sheep do not hear the false prophets.

1.   It is not that the sheep cannot hear the voice of the false prophets, but that the message of the false prophet cannot be understood by the sheep.

a)   Just as the goats cannot understand the heavenly message, so the sheep cannot understand the hellish message.

b)   The message of the hireling causes confusion to the sheep, which causes them to be scattered, verse 12.

2.   This doesn't mean the false prophets has no influence on the sheep.

3.   The sheep are scattered because the false prophets confuses them, and doesn't help them.

a)   There are saved people in every denomination because false prophets have scattered the sheep with their lies and confusing language.

b)   Many saved people are confused about what the truth is because false prophets have deluded them, and they don't know which way to turn.


V.  See verse 19-42 - The Jews still don't understand who Jesus is, even after all this discussion, and evidence.