So Jesus said to them again, ?Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door, if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly? (NASB).
We have previously considered God?s provision for man?s need in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who said, ?I am the bread of life.? ?I am the light of the world.? We now turn to the third ?I am? in the Gospel of John. In our previous study, we dealt with the ?Seven Signs? in the Gospel of John. Along with each of the seven signs, the Lord Jesus gave a corresponding declaration of His deity and purpose. These statements were prefaced by the term God used to identify Himself to Moses in the desert. Out of that glowing, burning bush came the voice of God saying ?I AM THAT I AM? (Exodus 3: ). In the Gospel of John our Lord likewise said, ?Before Abraham was, I am? (John 8:58).
- JESUS IS THE DOOR TO THE SHEEP VV. 7-8
Let me put everything in context so that you can understand what we
are learning from the Word of God. The overarching theme of John 10 is the Good Shepherd. However, this discourse of Jesus comes because of John 9 in the narrative of the man born blind (congenital blindness). When Jesus healed the man of his congenital blindness, it created a great stir among the religious leaders who were doing everything to undermine the authenticity of this miraculous healing. Because the religious leaders were impotent spiritually, they did everything to cast a doubt in the minds of the people about the veracity and genuineness of the person of Jesus Christ and His works. When the Pharisees could not dispute the authenticity of the healing of the blind man, they threw him out of the temple. In response to their treatment of this man and Jesus Himself, Jesus spoke a parable to them using three related metaphors: the sheepfold, the shepherd, and the sheep. The picture of the sheepfold included three separate illustrations. Three different doors are mentioned in this parable. However, for the sake of time and the present pericope, we would limit ourselves to two of the door metaphors.
In verse 7 ?Jesus said to them again, Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.? In some translations the term is verily, verily (Amen, Amen). When Jesus uses the term ?truly, truly,? or ?verily, verily,? it means that what is going to say is of utmost importance. It introduces truth of tremendous importance and urgency. Therefore, the term is an attention getter. Then Jesus says, ?I am the door of the sheep.? This is an emphatic statement. What Jesus is saying here has nothing to do with animal husbandry. He is teaching spiritual truth. The term ?door? is used figuratively elsewhere in the New Testament, as when Jesus speaks of entering the narrow door (Luke 13:24), or when we read of the ?door of faith? that God opened to the Gentiles (Acts 14:27). However, this is the only text in which Jesus Himself is spoken of as ?the door.? There is something exclusive about ?the door.? Jesus is not suggesting that there are several doors to salvation and that He is but one. Rather, He says that He is ?the? door. Therefore, you are not to think of many ways of coming to God. Jesus is saying that He is the one way, the only way, and the door by which all the sheep enter.
A door has twofold functions?it admits and excludes; it can shut in all who are welcome and shut out those whose company is not desired. When the door was shut at the Marriage Feast (Matt. 25:10), it shut in the five wise virgins and shut out the five foolish ones. Christ is the door and as we enter in, we are saved. It is only through Jesus that we have access unto the Father (Eph. 2:18).
The Thieves and Robbers
Jesus goes on to speak of those who preceded Him (v. 8). This is where some preachers and teachers of the Bible have made mistake. Jesus is not speaking of the Old Testament saints such as Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, and others. In fact, Jesus makes affirmative and glowing statements about many of these prophets and saints of the Old Testament. The text itself provides the answer to the thieves and robbers. Jesus says, ?All who came before Me are thieves and robbers.? ?The answer lies in the little word ?are.?? He does not use the verb ?were.? Therefore, the thieves and robbers are people of Jesus? own day. Jesus did not identify the thieves and robbers but even from the context of the blind man who Jesus healed, who were the people who took offense and threw the man out? These were the Sanhedrin that comprised of the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees. They may have been teaching before Jesus began His ministry, but it is their error and motives that are important. These religious leaders usurped the place of the true prophetic schools and claimed for themselves the position of door to the Kingdom of God. These were the people who opposed Jesus and refused to recognize that He had come from God. These were the thieves and robbers and wolves in sheep clothing who were stealing into the flock of Christ and tearing them apart (Acts 20:29; 1 Peter 5:2). The terms ?thieves and robbers? are interesting, informative, and revealing. The Greek word for ?thief? is (kleptes) from which we get the English ?kleptomaniac,? which means a ?petty thief.? The same term is used for Judas Iscariot who took money from the moneybox (John 12:6). The ?robber? is (lestes), which means brigand; it points to a member of a robber band, a much more interesting character. The word (robber) is used of Barabbas (John 18:40).
Many of these thieves and robbers have invaded churches today. However, it takes maturity and spiritual discernment to detect them. The good news is that true followers of Christ refuse to hear these thieves and robbers (peddlers and hawkers) of the gospel. Jesus is saying that these people are dishonest leaders and are not to be followed. You follow them at your own detriment and destruction.
THE LARGER DOOR (V. 9)
Another Door is mentioned in this chapter in verse 9. In the previous section verses 7-8, the context of the sheep was limited to the people of Israel. However, in verse 9, Jesus goes beyond the confines of Israel. What a comprehensive statement??If anyone.? Some translations use ?any man,? however, the term ?man? is used in a generic sense; it means man or woman, male and female. There is no distinction, no geographical boundaries, no tribes, no languages, and no restrictions are suggested. Jesus? salvation is for everyone regardless of race, culture, or status. The???? ?whosoever will? of the gospel is presented here.
?If anyone,? what glad and good news this is! Jew or Gentile, bond or free, rich or poor, learned or illiterate, noble or the peasant, the famous or the despised?anyone may come. Ladies and gentlemen, your condition today socially, racially, financially, and academically has nothing to do with the availability of God?s provision in Christ.
?If anyone enters through Me??This is an act of faith. You may be aware of God?s provision. You may understand with clarity that Jesus died to save sinners. You may be deeply conscious that there is no other door, but unless you receive the Savior Jesus by faith, you will never know the benefits of entering the door.
?He will be saved??What a comprehensive statement this is of God?s abundant supply in and through His Son, Jesus Christ! Saved! Saved from the eternal wrath of God; eternal separation; eternal death?the penalty of sin (Rom 3:16). Saved, delivered, set free from the plaguing power of sin in your life. ?He will be saved?! Eternally, finally, completely, delivered from the very presence of sin. This is what Jesus does and will do for anyone who comes to Him. Christ is the Door, and we cannot go out except across His body, and no ravening wolf can reach those sheep except across his body. Nobody can pluck us out of His hands (Luke 10:28, 29). As the Door, Jesus Himself preserves and protects His sheep and they can ?go in and out and find pasture.? The one who enters through Jesus Christ finds real freedom. When we enter through Christ, we find salvation, service, and sustenance. To ?go in and out? suggests the free satisfaction of the need of nourishment, the easy, enjoyment of rich pasturage (Psalm 23:2, ). We go in for salvation and we go out to serve the One who saved us.
He shall find pasture: Christ is not only the Door but He is also the Sustainer. The God who saved you would also keep you. Having entered the door, you are now the responsibility of the Shepherd. He would not leave you to the devouring or raving wolves, nor would He let you wander in the wasteland with no pasture. In Christ, God has made provisions for all your needs. Just as a sheep finds all its needs met when it is securely in the fold with a caring shepherd, so the sinner will find all the nourishment his soul needs when he enters life eternal through Jesus Christ.
II. THE ABUNDANT LIFE (V. 10)
This is the contrast with the teachers whom Jesus is castigating. “The thief,” Jesus says “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” This is what Jesus is saying in this verse (10). The false teachers are interested in getting what they can out of the people they teach and in the end their followers must suffer loss. In other words, the false teachers do not care about the wellbeing of their followers. They care for themselves exclusively. The? welfare of the people is not the priority or concern of the false teachers. Their concern is what they can get out of their followers. They are there to line up their pockets with the financial resources of the adherents.
Jesus by contrast is not interested in any personal profit. He came “so that they may have life.” Jesus came into this world in order that He might make eternal life available for those who trust Him. This life that Jesus offers is wonderful and abundant. The word, “abundant” means “More than usual, extra.” Therefore, abundant life means life in all its fullness. It is not about the quantity but the quality of life that Jesus provides. The Christian life is an exuberant affair, full of the joy of the Lord and the power of the Holy Spirit. Certainly, there are difficulties and troubles for the believer. It comes with the territory; it is part of the deal. However, the wonderful joy that comes from constant fellowship with the Lord far outweighs any such inconveniences. The life Christ gives is the abundant life. Therefore, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31).