The Parable of the Shepherd

The Parable of the Shepherd John 10:1-6 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

When Jesus gave the Pharisees this parable they did not understand it (John 9:22, 9:34). A parable simply uses things from everyday life to demonstrate a spiritual truth and make it much easier to understand. Sometimes Jesus used parables to explain a spiritual truth to those who believed him, while leaving those who rejected Him as the Son of God in the dark.

In a practical sense here are the things you can learn from this parable

Sheep are kept in a Sheepfold

A sheepfold is simply a pen in which to contain sheep. Most often they are round in shape and constructed of wood, or stone.

The Sheepfold has one door which is used as both the entrance and the exit

Generally a sheepfold has only one door, so that there is only one way in and one way out.

There is always a Porter at the door to keep sheep in and others out

John 10:1 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”

The porter is there to isolate the sheep from intruders for their protection.

When the Shepherd arrives the porter allows him to enter

John 10:2-3 “But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth”

Anyone who belongs in the Sheepfold comes in thru the door.

Inside the Sheepfold there is potentially more than one flock of sheep

Several flocks of sheep are sometimes combined in one sheepfold, usually to protect them from bad weather or roving predators (Genesis 29:7-8)

The Sheep recognize the voice of their Shepherd

John 10:3-4 “To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.”

When it comes time to separate the sheep the shepherds call to their flocks. The sheep are accustomed only to the call of their particular shepherd and so respond only to his call, not recognizing the call of other shepherds.

The Sheep do not recognize the voice of strangers

John 10:5 “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.”

The sheep are fearful of strangers and do not trust them.

What is the application of this parable?

To understand the application we need to identify the various parties in the parable.

The Shepherd – The Lord Jesus Christ (John 10:2, 10:11, 10:14)

The Sheep in the Sheepfold that follow the Shepherd – The Jews who believe on Jesus Christ as the Son of God (John 10:27, Psalm 95:7, John 9:38, Luke 9:23, Matt. 16:24, 4:19, 8:22, John 14:23)

The Sheep in the sheepfold that do not follow the Shepherd – The Jews who do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John 10:26, Matt. 15:24, John 1:11, John 9:40-41,)

The Thief and the Robber – The Devil and his followers (John 10:10, Luke 8:12, John 8:44, John 12:48, John 14:24, John 8:47). The sheepfold for the Devil and his followers will ultimately be the Lake of Fire.

So the application here is that in reality you have only two choices. You can follow Jesus Christ and be saved receiving eternal life and thus an entrance into the Kingdom of God.  Or you can choose to follow the Devil and receive eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire. Which one will you choose?