Summary: Jesus is the Door and the Shepherd; He is the entry-point to life, peace, sustenance, and safety. He loves us, gave His life for us, and guarantees we will live with Him forever.
In our last study we saw that Jesus spoke a parable to the unbelieving Pharisees about a shepherd and his sheep. The shepherd comes to the door to lead his sheep away, and, because he is legitimate, the porter opens the door for him. But there are others who want to steal the sheep and abuse them and kill them. The porter won’t open to them so they have to climb over a wall to get to the sheep. The sheep willingly follow their shepherd because they know his voice and they know he is good, but they won’t follow the thieves and robbers because they don’t trust them. They are afraid of strangers.
Now, all the things in this parable (or allegory) have meanings that the unbelieving Pharisees don’t understand. Now we come to verse seven where Jesus begins to explain it to them:
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
The first thing Jesus does is show that He is the door of the sheep. The door is the point of passage to and from the green pasture. We’ll talk more about that in a minute, but for now we should focus on the fact that others have already come and tried to convince the sheep to follow but the sheep wouldn’t listen.
Who could those people be? Remember we’ve already said that there are men who want to lead God’s flock, but they have no legitimate right to do so. These Pharisees are included in this group so they are thieves and robbers. But this was a problem for Israel all throughout its history. In Jeremiah 23 we read: Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. 2Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. 3And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. 5Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jer. 23:1-6).
The sheep were scattered because they ran from the strangers, but God would bring them back together. He will set up shepherds over them and provide for them. It’s interesting to note that Jeremiah was written during the time of exile and God’s people were literally scattered. There was a point to this because we can see that God was faithful to return them back to the safety of home. And “behold the days come” when Christ is promised and God’s sheep will dwell safely forever! We are His scattered sheep, and He came to seek and save that which was lost, and He promises that He will lead us to a good place where there will never again be hunger or fear or pain or exile.