A Difficult Parable


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John 10:1-6 (KJV) 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.

Among the Jews of Jesus’ day there were Rabbis – teachers who lead different schools of disciples. One of the most famous Rabbis was called Gamaliel. When people like Jesus went about teaching those in charge of the Jews would ask:

By what Authority do you say these things?”

The Pharisees asked Jesus this question very frequently (see Mark 11:28; Luke 20:2; Matthew 21:23). They expected Jesus to answer …

I speak under the authority of Rabbi ____”

If it was a well known Rabbi then the Pharisees would accept His Word. “Who is YOUR Rabbi, Jesus? Who gave YOU authority?” Jesus never answered their question of authority. When they asked Him the question Jesus asked them a question:

Mark 11:29-30 (KJV) …. I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.

John the Baptist announced Christ as the Messiah, but John was never endorsed by any Rabbi. His authority was from God. So the Pharisees never got an answer to their question. But in John 10 Jesus is going to answer the question of His Authority.

The Parable Few Understand

Jesus spoke a parable that no one understood, and few understand today. He spoke a parable about AUTHORITY. Jesus said:

John 10:1-2 (KJV) 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.

The sheepfold or place where sheep were kept had but one door in it. The sheep were hedged in and protected because there was only one way to get to them. The wolf or the thief would try to get to the sheep without going through the door. But the Shepherd who owned the sheep would always openly and without hiding enter by the door.

The reason sheep were hedged in and protected by the sheepfold is that sheep have no natural way to defend themselves outside of the Shepherd.


Sheep teeth are suitable for grinding grass, not for tearing flesh.

Sheep have no armor like the armadillo or the turtle.
Sheep have no poison in their teeth, nor fangs to deliver it like the adder.
Sheep do not have the fleetness of foot that the antelope or the rabbit has.
Sheep cannot climb like the cat or the monkey.
Sheep cannot burrow like the mole or the prairie dog.
Sheep are slow land animals.
Sheep cannot swim away like the fish.
Sheep have no size like the elephant or even the bull.

Their protection is the Shepherd or the Sheepfold.
They are either hedged in or watched over.

John 10:2-3 (KJV) 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.

The Shepherd may leave the sheep temporarily in the Sheepfold, but when he does the Porter watches the door. The Porter’s job is to guard the door, to protect the sheep for the Shepherd until He comes.

The Porter knows two things –
the DOOR and the SHEPHERD.

The Porter doesn’t know the sheep by name, but he knows the SHEPHERD BY NAME. When the Porter sees the Shepherd he opens the door so the Shepherd can come in and call His sheep. When the Shepherd enters the sheep hear HIS VOICE. They may not hear the Porter’s voice, but they hear the SHEPHERD’S Voice. And the Shepherd knows them. He calls them by name. There is a relationship between the sheep and the Shepherd. And the Shepherd …

Leadeth them OUT

They do not stay in the same Sheepfold day after day – lounging about and doing nothing. The sheep follow the Shepherd OUT. They go where HE GUIDES them.

He calls them.
He loves them.
He owns them.

The sheep do not own themselves, nor where they stay, nor even what they even do. He guides the sheep. He protects the sheep. He loves His sheep.

John 10:5 (KJV) And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

The stranger who does not know the sheep cannot lead the sheep. The stranger unknown by the Shepherd cannot lead the sheep. They know not the voice of strangers.

What Makes The Parable Difficult

Why didn’t anyone understand the parable? It’s because we don’t put ourselves in the role of “sheep”.

When the Pharisees asked Jesus “By what authority do You do these things”, this was the sheep asking a perceived sheep for the endorsement of sheep.

When Jesus began to explain the parable He did not initially make Himself to be either Porter or Shepherd. I have seen so many pictures of Jesus standing with sheep, being a Shepherd. But Jesus doesn’t start out with this, but ..

John 10:7 (KJV) … Verily, verily, I say unto you,
I am the door of the sheep.

The DOOR is watched by the Porter. Who is the Porter? It is not Jesus, but the Father that sent Him. Jesus told Nicodemus:

John 3:16-17 (KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Jesus is the DOOR to Heaven, the DOOR to Everlasting and Worthy life. The Father is the Porter Who sent the Door, Who presents the Door. Jesus said:

John 8:28-29 (KJV) …. When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. 29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

The Door is opened by the Porter – Our Heavenly Father.
The Door is protected by the Porter.
The Door is presented by the Porter.
The Porter loves the Door & so do the sheep.
The Door protects the sheep in the Sheepfold.

Jesus said:

John 10:8-10 (KJV) 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.

Those who came before Jesus presenting themselves as the Door – as Authorities – are thieves and robbers. There is but one Door. There is but one Sheepfold. Jesus is the Door of the Sheepfold. The Pharisees are thieves and robbers. The preacher who departs from God’s Son is a thief and a robber. The denomination that speaks of many ways unto God are thieves and robbers. The so called “prophet” who does not recognize Christ as the Door is a thief and a robber. He is the Door.

Christ is the Door of Salvation
Christ is the Door by which we enter & leave the Sheepfold
Christ is the Door by which we find pasture or sustenance

Christ is the Door by which we have abundant life!
My ability is not the door. My Lord is the Door.
But …

Jesus Is Also The Good Shepherd

John 10:11 (KJV) I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Jesus Christ is the Door in this parable, but He ALSO the Shepherd. The Porter (the Father) opens the Door for the Shepherd. Christ is both Door and Shepherd. He guards us in the Sheepfold, and guards us outside of the Sheepfold.

  • Jesus guards us from ourselves. He watches over us, and disciplines us when we wander away. A sheep outside of the gaze of the Shepherd is susceptible to death, disease, and destruction. The Psalmist prayed:

Psalms 119:176 (KJV) I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

When we wander, Jesus seeks us. He seeks to save the lost. What did our Great Shepherd do for us? The Bible says:

Isaiah 53:6-7 (KJV) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

We are born into this life wandering like sheep, seeking the love of God. What did Jesus do?

The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep
The Shepherd became the Lamb of God
He laid down His life for us!
He bled and died for us!

What has Peter declared?

1 Peter 3:18 (KJV) For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

The Shepherd bled and died for us that
He might bring us to God.
The Son of God became a Son of man
so that sons of men might become sons of God.

  • Jesus not only guards us from ourselves, but from the enemy. He does not run away. He does not leave us. Jesus did what He did not for Himself, but for us. Jesus is not a sharecropper. He is not hired to do what He did. He said:

John 10:12-13 (KJV) 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.

The hireling doesn’t own the sheep. But Jesus owns His sheep. He said:

John 10:14-15 (KJV) 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.

Did you see the word “MINE” in the text above. Jesus said “I am known of MINE”. If you are Christ’s then YOU BELONG TO JESUS.

You do not belong to yourself. You are bought with a price:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV) What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

You do not belong to you. Your body does not belong to you. You are a sheep. He is the Shepherd. You are His, not yours. What you have in this life you have temporarily. What is given to you is a stewardship – everything you have or hope to be belongs to the Great Shepherd Jesus. You live for His Voice. You live to obey Him.

But to be with Jesus is to be safe. He is the Door. He is the Good Shepherd. He watches over His own and keeps us from straying. He disciplines the unruly, feeds the young, and loves all that are His.

I love being one of His sheep!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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