Summary: There is but one way to God, and that is through Jesus the Son of God. He presents Himself as the Door. The message explores some of the ramifications of that truth.
“Jesus again said to them, ‘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 listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by 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.’”
The Master was compelled to explain Himself to the crowd gathered around Him. He had presented a “figure of speech”—a */paroimía/*— which they did not understand. The term Jesus used is close to the concept of a parable; it is a cryptic saying that requires further explanation. What the Master had said was, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” [*John 10:1-5*]. Though the crowd understood shepherding, they were unable to make the spiritual connection; hence, the need for the Master to explain His reference.
For us who have the advantage of the Word of God in printed form, the words of the Master make perfect sense. We are generally comfortable asserting that we understand His reference. However, there are many who do not understand. For their sake, it is beneficial to consider again the Master’s words and how they apply to us in this day. I present to you Jesus, the door of the sheep.
*A Brief Primer in Shepherding* — As I stated in the introduction, Jesus’ audience would have understood the reference to shepherding. Israel, in the days our Master walked the land, was an agronomical society; shepherds were common in the land. Throughout the Old Testament are found repeated instances where the kings of Israel are referred to as shepherds of God’s people. When David was invited to assume the reign over Israel, the elders of the tribes said, “In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the Lord said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of My people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel’ [*2 Samuel 5:2*; see also* 2 Chronicles 11:2*].
Of David, the Psalmist Asaph has written:
“[The Lord] chose David His servant
and took him from the sheepfolds;
from following the ewes He brought him
to shepherd Jacob His people,
Israel His inheritance.
With upright heart he shepherded them
and guided them with his skilful hand.”
When Micaiah prophesied the death of Ahab, his disturbing prophecy was, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘These have no master; let each return to his home in peace’” [*1 Kings 22:17*; *2 Chronicles 18:16*]. When God condemns the kings of Israel through Ezekiel, He lodges the complaint, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.
“Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As I live, declares the Lord God, surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them” [*Ezekiel 34:2-10*].