The Door to an Abundant Life {John 10}

10:30 PM

By Sue Desmarais

Have you ever watched a game show where the contestants are asked to trade in what they have already received for what’s hidden behind another door on stage? The contestants agree hoping, or believing that what’s hidden is better than what they have at the moment, but… it doesn’t always turn to be the case. I think about that scenario every time I read this passage and used to wonder why others would reject this “door” altogether:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, 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. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.

So Jesus said to them again, “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 hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through 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.

I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. John 10:1-11
John, who wrote this book, never added the chapters and verses to it, and I’m not sure why whoever did add the chapter breaks, ended chapter 9 where they did, because when Jesus in 10:1 says, “Truly, truly…” He’s connecting what He’s about to say with what has just taken place in chapter 9; where Jesus healed the man born blind. Jesus is going to address the fact that the Pharisees, who were the religious leaders in Israel, should’ve been faithful shepherds over God’s flock, but had failed miserably, and the story of this blind man is a great example of this when they grew frustrated with the man’s testimony about Jesus and actually threw him out of the temple; never once rejoicing over the fact that this man could now see!

We actually need to back up to Ezekiel 34:1-31 to truly understand what Jesus is saying in chapter 10. (I’ll try to condense it a bit for you):

“And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,  “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.--  therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against the shepherds…and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep… As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them… And I will bring them out…, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them… I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord GOD. …I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them…”

Chapter 10 is the end of Jesus teaching ministry; the rest of the Book of John will describe the events that took place during Jesus’ final week on earth. I wonder if Jesus sensed a greater urgency to get His message out to His people, for surely if you knew your opportunity to convince others of something so, so important was ending, wouldn’t you try that much harder?  

Jesus is saying here that He is the true Shepherd; the One God spoke of in Ezekiel 34. He is the Messiah, the One who fulfills all the Old Testament prophecies concerning Him.

 He is the “door” and I believe, though some might not agree, that the “doorkeeper” must be John the Baptist, for “as David was designated the king of Israel by the prophet Samuel, so also Jesus, the Son of David, was designated Israel’s King by John the Baptist.

I used to read this passage and wonder why others didn’t choose Jesus as the “door” to abundant life. Why instead, would they pick up stones to stone Him? Why wouldn’t they want to follow the “Good Shepherd”, or why would they turn away after a time?

This time however, I found the answers right here in the chapter! The first is found in verses 14-16,“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.” (Emphasis mine)

They choose to follow Him because they are His sheep and they “know His voice”. They recognize Him as the Messiah, and trust in Him as their Shepherd. These sheep, who belong to the true Shepherd, also know better than to follow any false shepherd.

Then again in verse 27-30, Jesus assures us that all His sheep will be kept safe, for no one can “snatch them” away from Him, My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)

Today, if you are one of the Shepherd’s sheep, give Him thanks that you heard His call, recognized His voice, followed after Him and are now cared for and kept safe by the Good Shepherd! Hallelujah!

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