In John 10:1-10, Jesus identified Himself as the door to the sheepfold. He is the only way to enter the Lord’s sheepfold. He contrasted Himself with the thief and the robber who seek only to steal and destroy.
The shepherd was mentioned generically in the first part of the text (10:2-4), but now the Lord applies the role to Himself. He spoke:
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. (John 10:11-16)
Jesus is not just a shepherd, He is the Good Shepherd. The studious Jew would associate His words with several statements from the prophets (Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:23; 37:24; Zechariah 13:7). His role as the shepherd of God’s people had been foretold many centuries beforehand.
The shepherd has a special relationship to the sheep. They are his, and he is theirs. He loves the sheep and calls them by name (10:3). The shepherd loves his sheep so much that he would willingly die in their defense; He will give his life for the sheep. In contrast, the hirelings do not love the sheep nor are they willing to give themselves for the sheep. We noted last week that the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day would be thieves and robbers of John 10:1-10. They are also the hirelings of verse 12-13. The sheep were not theirs and they did not love them.
THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Again, Jesus affirmed the intimate relationship He has with the sheep: “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own” (John 10:14). He knows each one of us, in fact, He knows us better than we know ourselves. And if we are His sheep, we need to know Him, not just superficially, but genuinely and with deep affection. He’s not just a figure from history; He is “God with us,” who came to save us from our sins; the Messiah, the Master, and the Shepherd of our souls.
He is emphatic about laying down His life for the sheep. He spoke of it in verse 11, but also in verse 15, 17, and 18. Understand, He’s not speaking in riddles and metaphors, but He literally laid down His life for you and me and all who have ever or will ever live on this earth. 1 John 3:16 says “…He laid down His life for us…” He is the Good Shepherd.
TWO FOLDS BROUGHT TOGETHER
Notice verse 16:
And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
The fold to whom He spoke at the time were the Jews. They were His people; they were the sons of Jacob and the people of the Old Covenant. But He had another fold whom He would bring in the near future; a fold of Gentile believers. However, He would not keep the two folds separate; He would bring them together so as to create a single flock focused on a single shepherd.
Paul speaks about this in the book of Ephesians:
…remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh … were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. (Ephesians 2:11-16).
Jesus came to bring all together in one body – the church. He fulfills the Abrahamic seed promise of Genesis 12:3. Friend, we need to “Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheeo of His pasture” (Psalm 100:3).