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Context is division between the Pharisees and religious leaders who only have their own interests in mind (protecting their positions of authority and wielding influence over the people) and Jesus who genuinely wants to direct the people towards God. The growing issue is that many people are now starting to follow Jesus and respond positively to His teaching and miracles …. causing the insecure Pharisees to feel threatened.


A. (:1-2) Only the Legitimate Shepherd Can Approach the Sheep Openly

1. Hurtful Predators Are Recognized by Their Unauthorized Approach

“he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.”

sheepfold here is the Jewish nation

Pharisees claim to be the authorities but are illegitimate; blind leaders of the blind

Jesus came the appropriate way in accordance with OT prophecy

2. The Legitimate Shepherd Enters by the Door

“But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep.”


In the East, shepherds brought their flocks into one central sheepfold every evening where half-a-dozen flocks gathered together and were guarded by a porter or gatekeeper behind locked doors. In the morning the shepherds returned and each called his own sheep. Although the flocks had been mingled together, each flock knew its own shepherd’s voice, and each would follow its own shepherd and no other. This is the picture our Lord uses with regard to the encounter between the man who had been born blind and the false shepherds, the Pharisees.

B. (:3-5) Only the Legitimate Shepherd is Recognized and Followed

1. Positively: Recognized and Followed

a. Recognized

1) Granted Access by the Gatekeeper (John the Baptist)

“To him the doorkeeper opens”

2) Personal Relationship with Each Sheep

“and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name”

b. Followed because He Lovingly Leads

“and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them,”

Carr: When the shepherd calls forth his sheep, he goes before them and they instinctively follow him. He doesn’t have to drive them, that is for goats. He just leads them out and they follow close behind.

c. Followed because He is Recognized and Appreciated

“and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.”

2. Negatively: False Shepherds are not Recognized or Followed

a. Not Followed (but Fled From)

“And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him,”

b. Because Not Recognized

“because they do not know the voice of a stranger.”

C. (:6) Transition: No Understanding

“This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.”


A. (:7-10) Jesus as the Saving Door = Only Entrance to Eternal Life

1. (:7-8) Identification of Jesus as the Saving Door Contrasted with Hurtful Predators

a. (:7) Jesus as the Door

“Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep”

Carr: If you will remember, there was only one opening going into or out of the sheepfold. It was in this opening that the shepherd lay. Therefore, the shepherd Him self became the door of the sheep. Nothing could enter the fold, nothing could exit the fold without going through the shepherd himself.

b. (:8a) Hurtful Predators

“All who came before Me are thieves and robbers,”

c. (:8b) Sheep Can Tell the Difference

“but the sheep did not hear them”

3. (:9-10) Purpose of Jesus as the Saving Door Contrasted with Hurtful Predators

a. (:9) Purpose of Jesus: Salvation / Protection / Nourishment

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

b. (:10a) Purpose of Hurtful Predators: Exploitation / Destruction

“The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy”

c. (:10b) Purpose of Jesus: Abundant Life

“I came that they might have life; and might have it abundantly”

B. (:11-18) Jesus as the Good Shepherd = Only Savior and Protector and Provider

1. (:11a) Identification of Jesus as the Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd”

2. (:11b) Distinguishing Function of the Good Shepherd

“the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep”

3. (:12-13) Contrast with Hired Gun

a. Driven by Loot rather than by Love

“He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd”

b. No Personal Stewardship of Ownership

“who is not the owner of the sheep,”

Huge difference between the Chief Shepherd who owns the flock and His under shepherds who are charged with the stewardship of caring for that flock.

c. Concerned for Personal Safety rather than for Protection of the Flock

“beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep.”

4. (:14-15a) Personal Intimacy with the Sheep

a. Identification of Jesus as the Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd”

b. Close Personal Relationship with the Flock

“and I know My own, and My own know Me,”

c. Parallel to Intimate Relationship Within the Godhead

“even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father”

5. (:15b) Distinguishing Function of the Good Shepherd

“and I lay down My life for the sheep”

6. (:16) Expanding the Flock to Include Gentiles on Equal Basis

“And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd.”

7. (:17-18) Willingness to Voluntarily Lay Down His Life on Behalf of Sheep

“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”


A. (:19) Revelation of Truth Always Causes Division

“There arose a division again among the Jews because of these words.”

B. (:20) Emotional Rejection

“And many of them were saying, ‘He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?’”

C. (:21) Reasonable Reception

“Others were saying, ‘These are not the saying of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?’”