Summary: Christ is the Shepherd who leads His sheep safely to pasture.
UNFORTUNATELY THERE IS NO AUDIO RECORDING FOR THIS SERMON.
John 10 can’t be separated from John 9. Jesus healed a blind man and many people believed on Him as the Messiah. But the healing took place on a Sabbath so there were plenty of others who rejected Him and wanted to prosecute Him. They drove the healed man out of the synagogue because he admitted that Jesus was from God: Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? 36He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. 38And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. 39And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. 40And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? 41Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth (Jn. 9:35-41).
Now we continue with the rest of that conversation.
If you skip down to verse six you’ll see that verses 1-5 are a parable or an allegory. There’s a flock of sheep kept behind a fence and they’re brought out through the door by their shepherd so that they can graze in the pasture. It’s good to remember the 23rd Psalm as we read through this. But there are also thieves and robbers who come to steal the sheep. They don’t care about the sheep; they want to make a profit.
This parable builds on what we’ve already seen in John. The Pharisees are religionists. They love to say they’re from God (and that they’re legitimate shepherds) but in reality they do the works of their father the devil. But God’s flock isn’t in any danger from them at all as we shall see:
Verily, verily, I say unto you,
He uses the Hebrew “amen, amen” to let them know this is serious and true. They don’t believe He’s the Son of God or that they’re steeped in sin. They think they have everything necessary to please God, so Jesus is warning them:
He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
Now, I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself here, but if we skip down to verse seven we see that Jesus says, “I am the door.” We’ll talk more about that when we get there, but for now I want to focus on what it means that thieves and robbers come some way other than the door.
Thieves and robbers see the door but refuse to go through it because they won’t enter legitimately. How does this relate to the people listening? Well, Christ is the door. The Pharisees claimed to lead the flock of Israel but they also reject Christ. They say they are guides to the blind yet they reject the door! They want to give the pasture that only God can give, but they want to give it their own way. And so the thieves and robbers aren’t just some abstract group of people: He’s talking about the Pharisees!
Now, why would they be called thieves and robbers?
The Greek word for thief (κλέπτης, kleptes) doesn’t just mean someone who steals. It means someone who is dishonest and someone who cheats. These men are dishonest. As Paul says in Romans, they suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). They brag about the Law but dishonor God so that His name is blasphemed among the Gentiles (Rom. 3:17-24). They are the false prophets who disguise themselves as sheep but really are vicious wolves (Mt. 7:15). When Jesus rose again they paid the guards to change their story. When they know the truth they shut their ears to it because they are dishonest.
Now, why would anyone do something like that? The answer, I suppose, is simple: But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you (II Pt. 2:1-3).
There’s profit to be made in false religion and there’s a lot of power in it, so naturally, it attracts thieves.