The message of salvation
by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ
alone is a constant reminder of man's inability to
save himself. It is a message that Jesus Christ
alone is able to make atonement for our sins. It is
the message that there is only one way of salvation.
It is a reminder that there is a future judgment
against sin for all who reject Christ as the only
door to salvation. How you respond to Jesus Christ
in this life determines where you will spend
The Gospel of John
describes a man born blind who came to a saving
relationship with the Messiah, the Lord Jesus
Christ. He not only received physical sight, but he
received spiritual sight as well. As the Light of
the Word, Jesus caused faith to sprout and grow in
that man's life. But the spiritually bind religious
leaders hated the Son of God, and tried to
extinguish His light. The Pharisees excommunicated
the man born blind, who was now healed, from the
whole order of life of the Jews. When Jesus heard
what they had done to the man Jesus asked him, "Do
you believe in the Son of Man? (John 9:35). The
little man who is now fighting for his life
responded, "And who is He, Lord, that I may believe
in Him?" Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him,
and He is the one who is talking with you."
His response was, "Lord, I believe." "And he
worshiped Him" (v. 38).
The blind man was
confronted with Jesus Christ, and Christ became the
deciding and the turning point in the blind man's
life. The man believed and worshiped Jesus Christ.
From that moment the man entered into eternal life.
For that man Jesus Christ was the doorway into
The critical question to
be asked and answered is: What is your relationship
with Jesus Christ?
After the man worshipped
Jesus, Christ said to those gathered around looking
on, "For judgment I came into this world, that those
who do not see may see; and that those who see may
become blind" (v. 39). The self-righteous Pharisees
rejected the Light of the World. We could paraphrase
Jesus words to the Pharisees, "You who claim to have
spiritual sight apart from Me may be demonstrated to
be the blind men that you really are." The blind
leaders of the blind seized the moment and asked,
"We are not blind, are we?" (v. 40). Jesus
responded, "If you were blind, you would have no
sin; but now you say, 'We see'; your sin remains.
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"
These religious leaders
claimed spiritual knowledge, yet they were
completely blind. They rejected the Son of God. They
claimed to have sight, but acted like the blind.
Their sin remained and they were condemned for all
eternity. It never occurred to these religious
leaders that they could be spiritually blind. Jesus
did not tell them they were spiritually blind, but
they came to that powerful conclusion and refused to
act upon it, except in a hostile manner.
I agree with many
scholars that there is no break between these two
chapters. Jesus tells an allegory to illustrate the
blindness of the Pharisees as false shepherds, and
of Himself as both the Door and the Good Shepherd.
As the Door, Jesus is the
one and only way of entrance into salvation. As the
Good Shepherd He is the one who cares for the sheep
and provides for their salvation at the cost of His
life. He lays down His life for the sheep. On the
other hand, the two figures bring out strong
contrasts. When Jesus considers Himself as the Door
He brands those who do not use the Door as thieves
and robbers. When He thinks of Himself as the Good
Shepherd He contrasts Himself to the evil hireling
shepherds. They are not interested in the welfare of
the sheep, but the Good Shepherd gives His life for
His sheep. The essential thing in this parable is
the Good Shepherd lays down His life voluntarily for
the well-being of His sheep. Jesus has the power to
lay it down and take it up again.
The hostility of the
Pharisees against the man born blind demonstrates
that they are false shepherds. Jesus, on the other
hand, is the Good Shepherd.
Shepherds are a power
image in the Old Testament for leaders, both
politically and spiritually. Here Jesus
distinguishes His own ministry from the false
shepherds of Israel (cf. Isa. 56:9-12; Ezek. 34;
Jer. 23:1-4; 25:32-38; Zech. 11; Ps. 23; 80:1; Isa.
40:10ff). A false shepherd of Israel failed to
perform his divine responsibilities. However, the
prophets looked forward to the divinely sent
Shepherd after God's own heart who is like the
shepherd David. "Then I will set over them one
shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them;
he will feed them himself and be their shepherd"
(Ezekiel 34:23). John chapter ten powerfully
declares the fulfillment of this great Messianic
prophecy. Jesus introduces Himself as the Shepherd
like unto David. Israel's true Shepherd is the Good
It is true the shepherd
provided care for his flock, but he was also a
powerful sovereign. He was absolute ruler over his
sheep. He determined their coming and going into the
fold, and where they would eat. He determined when
they would be sheered, how they would be provided
for, and even decided which ones would be sacrificed
for the sin of the shepherd and his family.
John chapter ten sets
forth Jesus as the true Ruler and Shepherd of His
own people. Jesus is the ideal messianic ruler. He
is the very opposite of the false shepherds. Here we
see the nature and purpose of the Good Shepherd. He
provides for His sheep even to the extent of laying
down His own life for them. He alone has this power
to choose the manner of His own death, when He will
die and when He will rise again from the dead. No
one else has that kind of sovereignty.
"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" (John 10:1-2). "For
certain, for certain," literally, "Amen, Amen," is
always used in the Gospel of John when Jesus is
introducing a very important and power statement
regarding our salvation. The word "amen" means "to
confirm," therefore it was used to give one's
assent. It is the response of the congregation to a
prayer which just been uttered in worship of the
living God. Listen carefully because Jesus is going
to make a significant statement that relates to your
eternal life. It is a solemn, true and significant
statement. It always implies something regarding our
knowledge of Christ. It is in truth, the very truth.
It is a most solemn truth that must be believed
about Christ. Your response to that truth determines
your eternal destiny.
Jesus uses the
expression, "Amen, amen" like the prophets who
declared, "As I live, says the Lord." He speaks with
all the authority of the Kingdom of God.
During the time of Christ
the sheep were herded in a walled enclosure, with
briars and long thorny vines growing on top, mostly
open to the sky, but providing protection from
thieves and wolves at night. The actual word Jesus
uses means a courtyard, thus a place where sheep are
herded, a sheepfold. There was one door that was
guarded by a door-keeper.
Jesus said if a man does
not enter by the door, and climbs over the wall, he
is up to no good. He is castigated as a thief and a
robber. The word "thief" means a sneak-thief using
deception to get to the sheep. He steals cunningly
or by stealth. "Robber" is one who is eager to
engage in violence to plunder the sheep. He steels
by violence. However, the Good Shepherd enters by
the door because He has a right to enter through
that door. He is recognized by the door-keeper as
the legitimate shepherd. Jesus pictures a large fold
where several flocks find shelter. One door-keeper
can thus look after a large number of sheep composed
of several flocks. The Good Shepherd goes in through
the door as opposed to the thieves who climb over
the walls to rob and destroy. It is His right to
enter because He owns the sheep and He has come to
claim them. The Shepherd comes to call His sheep and
they hear His voice and they follow Him out to
Keep in mind those who
are gathered around listening to the allegory as
Jesus tells it. Note the climax to the evil of the
false shepherds, "he is a thief and a robber" (v.
1). That is what the Pharisees were doing to this
blind man in chapter nine.
When the shepherd arrives
in the morning, even before dawn, he calls out his
sheep, who hear his voice and respond only to his
call. The Palestinian shepherd had an individual
call for each of his sheep. Thus, the individual
sheep know their shepherd's voice and recognize his
call to each of his own. They come to their shepherd
and he leads them out to pasture. It is significant
that the shepherd does not call sheep in general. He
calls his own sheep with a distinct call that they
recognize and respond to.
Many travelers to
Palestine have described sheep and their shepherds
going to the sheep pens to get their flocks. The
sheep were all mixed together in a common pen for
the night. When the morning came one of the
shepherds stood some distance from the sheep and
began to call his sheep. First one, then another,
then four or five animals ran towards him. In a few
minutes he had counted his whole flock and headed
off to the luscious green fields with them.
When all the sheep are
together the shepherd leads them out to their
destination. The sheep hear his voice and follow
their shepherd. They follow because they know their
The man born blind heard
the voice and responded to the call of his shepherd,
even while the Pharisees were climbing over the
walls of religious activity to steal, plunder and
destroy God's fold.
Jesus presented Himself
to Judaism to call out a body that the Father had
given Him. He will later call out sheep from other
folds that there might be one great flock.
Jesus knows His
"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" (vv. 3-5).
The following verse
informs us that the blind religious leaders
listening to the allegory still did not understand
this spiritual truth in this allegory.
It is a great Biblical
truth that those who respond and follow Jesus Christ
will not lack any good thing they need for a right
relationship with the Lord God. "The Lord is my
shepherd; I shall not be in want." Not only does He
provides us with all good things we need, but we
will also dwell in the house of the Lord forever. We
will enjoy eternal fellowship with Him.
Moreover, "We are His
people, the sheep of His pasture" (Ps. 100:3). The
Lord God, "tends His flock like a shepherd. He
gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close
to His heart; He gently leads those that have young"
(Isaiah 40:11). No wonder we have no need.
Our Good Shepherd is
pictured walking before His sheep. He is always
leading us into green pastures of spiritual
refreshment. He knows where to take us and make us
lie down and rest. He does not drive His sheep, He
leads them. The sheep follow because they know their
shepherd's voice. Why, they are accustomed to His
voice. They are in the habit of following Him.
However, when a stranger
appears on the scene and attempts to call the sheep
out, they absolutely will not follow him. Jesus used
a double negative (ou me) in the Greek. When the
stranger comes whom they do not recognize they flee
for their lives. They do not now the voice of the
stranger and will not respond to his call.
Have you heard His
voice and responded to His call?
The Lord Jesus Christ
knows His sheep and they respond to Him. Jesus calls
His sheep by name. Jesus comes to the door of the
sheepfold and, knowing His sheep in advance, calls
them and leads them out. All those are saved whom
God has given Jesus.
Jesus saw a man named
Matthew, sitting in the tax collector's booth; and
He said to him, "Follow Me!" And he got up and
followed Jesus (Matt. 9:9). Here was a lone sheep of
Christ. The Shepherd called him; he recognized His
voice, and promptly followed Him.
Jesus looked up into a
tree and said, "Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for
today I must stay at your house" (Luke 19:5).
Here was one of the sheep, called by name. The
response was prompt, for we are told, "And he
hurried and came down and received Him gladly" (v.
Jesus "found Philip." And
Jesus said to him, "Follow Me" (Jn. 1:43). This
shows us the Shepherd seeking His sheep before he
John chapter 11 supplies
us with a still more striking example of the drawing
power of the Shepherd's voice as he called His own
sheep. There we read of Lazarus, in the grave; but
when Christ calls His sheep by name—"Lazarus, come
forth"—the sheep at once responded.
Jesus said His sheep know
His voice. Mary Magdalene was in the garden and she
found the stone rolled away, and the body of Jesus
gone. Suddenly as she stood there weeping in the
cemetery the risen Christ stands by her and "she
knew not that it was Jesus." He spoke to her, but
the thought He was the gardener. Then she identified
Him and said, "Rabboni!" Jesus said, "Stop clinging
to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father;
but go to My brethren, and say to them, 'I ascend to
My Father and your Father, and My God and your God'
" (v. 17). No one believed her testimony that day
until they saw Jesus themselves. A. W. Pink says,
"The moment He called His sheep by name she knew His
beautiful, saving grace! God doesn't call us any
differently today than He has always called sinners
to Himself. This is how He calls you. He knows you.
He knows you with all your failures and sin. But He
also knows what He is going to make of you through
His saving grace. His goal is to make you like
Himself. Do you hear His calling? Have you responded
to His voice? Your eternal destiny is determined by
how you respond to His calling.
Have you gone through the
JESUS IS THE DOOR
Christ changed the image
slightly as He clarified His powerful message. Jesus
said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of
the sheep" (v. 7).
Jesus compels his
listeners to hear and respond. "For certain, for
certain," "truly, truly," "amen, amen" beckons us to
be quiet, be alert, listen with rapt attention to
His words. Those who hear His voice and respond
follow Him through the door into eternal life.
"I am the Door of
Go back to the sheepfold
imagery once again. The sheep are with their
shepherd inside the stone enclosure during the
night. There was no door of any kind in these
enclosures. In place of the door there was just an
open space. At night after the shepherd called in
his sheep and herded them within the fold, and then
the shepherd himself lay down across the opening and
entrance into the sheepfold. The shepherd was the
door. No sheep could get out and no enemy could come
in except over his body. In a very literal sense,
the shepherd was the door. There was no way in or
out except through him.
Jesus is alone the door.
"He, and He alone, is, and is always, the door." For
every true under-shepherd Jesus is also the door to
the sheep. For the sheep Jesus is the door to all
the blessings of eternal life.
Jesus is saying, "I, and
I alone, I and no other am the Door of the sheep."
Jesus is the one and only gate into heaven. Jesus
Christ is the sole way to God. There is no other
way. In John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way, the
truth and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through Me." If there is no Christ, there is
no way to God. If He is not the Door, there is no
entrance into God's presence. As the Door Jesus is
the one way of entrance into salvation. As the Good
Shepherd He is the One who cares for the sheep and
provides for their salvation at the cost of His own
The image of the door
conveys to the listener a certain exclusivity. There
may conceivably be more ways than one of getting to
a place. However, by the use of the door Jesus has
already made it clear that there is but one door.
There is only one exit into eternal life. It is
through Jesus Christ. Once you have entered through
the Door it is impossible to be tolerant of the
various false ways which can lead only to eternal
condemnation in hell.
How can Jesus make such
claims as to be the only door to salvation and
eternal life? What makes Him so unique? How can He
make such a statement of sovereign grace?
Jesus can make such
remarkable claims because He is the "I AM" (v. 7).
"I am the door of the sheep." Everything He said
make good sense since He is who He said He is and He
is who He claimed to be. In this great awesome
statement Jesus claimed to be God. We deserve to die
for our own sins, but the perfect Son of God was
without sin. He was the holy and righteous God who
came to save His people from their sins. He came and
died as our substitute. By means of His death for
our sins and His resurrection He literally became
the Door or Gate by which sinful people can come
into the presence of God. He is the "new and living
way" (Heb. 10:20), and it is "through Him we . . .
have access . . . to the Father" (Eph. 2:18).
There is only one Door
and Christ Himself is that Door! "And there is
salvation in no one else; for there is no other name
under heaven that has been given among men by which
we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
"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" (vv.
The individual who puts
his trust in Jesus Christ is made alive spiritually.
He receives life, a spiritual life that begins the
moment he puts his faith in Christ, and that new
life in Christ continues throughout eternity. It is
the kind of life Jesus Christ has. It is a contented
life, a life of peace with God, knowing all of your
sins have been forgiven, and security that you will
be with God all your life, even when you die
"I am the door, if anyone
enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go
in and out, and find pasture" (v. 9). A second time
Jesus says He is the door. "By me" or "through Me"
are in the emphatic position in the original. It is
Jesus Christ and no other who enables men to enter
salvation. There is a certain exclusiveness about
"the door." The politically correct world does not
like those words of Jesus. If there is one door then
men must enter by it or stay outside. They cannot
demand another door. He makes it clear that
salvation was the purpose of Jesus' coming (3:16-17;
5:34; 12:47). Salvation is the comprehensive term
for the whole process whereby men are delivered from
the consequences of their sin and brought into an
eternal saving relationship with God. John uses the
term "saved" much the same way he does for a person
having "eternal life."
Moreover, it is a life
that is filled with the confidence that your
Shepherd is equal to every emergency and supplies
all your genuine needs according to the riches in
glory in Jesus Christ. Such peace comes only through
the hands of the Good Shepherd.
Abundant life today
The "abundant" life Jesus
gives is one that overflows. "I came that they may
keep on having life, and may keep on having it
abundantly." The word "abundant" means to have a
surplus, superabundance, "till it overflows." The
Greek word translated "abundant" (perissos)
is a mathematical word meaning a surplus. Jesus had
a surplus of leftovers after He fed the 5,000. These
12 baskets of leftovers were in abundance. Our
Shepherd always gives in abundance. The English word
"abundance" comes from Latin meaning "the rise in
waves" or "to overflow." It is the picture of
unceasing rise of waves upon seashore, with waves
rising again and again in the incoming tide. It is
also the picture of increasing abundance like that,
which causes the river to overflow its banks as a
result of increasing rains.
The life Jesus offers us
for each day is a life that overflows from a surplus
of confidence that God is equal to every emergency
and does supply all our genuine needs according to
His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:13, 19;
Matt. 6:33). The abundant life is the life of the
sheep who finds himself in the hands of the Good
The Good Shepherd's banks
are always overflowing with waters of abundance. His
grace is always more than enough for all our needs.
Nothing can suppress the unending all sufficiency of
His provision for His sheep. Such is the God we
serve. "My God shall supply all your needs according
to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians
Before we can know the
life of abundance, we must know the life itself as
it comes to us in Christ. We must first be made
alive through faith in Christ. Jesus said, "I have
come that they may have life." That life is found by
going through the Door. Christ is the Door to
eternal life. Only after we go through the Door and
receive His life can we have His kind of life "in
Are you aware that you
have this life in Christ? How do you live the
abundant life the Shepherd gives to all who go
through His Door? We reckon upon the grand
provisions of Christ Himself. He leads us into the
fullness of this new life in Christ. He always gives
His very best, and He gives it in abundance. It is a
walk of faith. He leads us "in and out" to find good
pasture. His sheep are well fed and are provided
with all good things now and will dwell in the house
of the Lord forever. The sheep who follow the Good
Shepherd will not lack any good thing.
The awesome truth of
Christianity is that Jesus Christ crucified declares
that man is incapable of saving himself. It declares
the supremacy that Jesus alone is able to make
atonement for our sins and because of that fact He
is the only way of salvation. Because of personal
sin and failure to live up to God's expectation of
man, every person will face a future judgment
against sin. Those who have come through the door of
Jesus Christ to eternal life will be saved for all
eternity and enjoy fellowship with him. To all who
reject Him it is eternal separation from God in a
place called hell.
PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
The cross of Christ is
the turning point in life and what you do at that
point determines where you spend eternity. Will you
pass through the Door into eternal life? Those who
believe on Jesus Christ enter into eternal life and
enjoy God's presence for all eternity. Those who
reject Him and refuse to pass through His Door go
into eternal separation from him forever in hell.
Your response to Jesus
Christ as the Door determines your eternal destiny.
Will you walk through that door by faith today and
receive His gift of eternal life?
The Lord Jesus
Christ knows His sheep and they follow Him.
In chapter seventeen,
Jesus said that He knows His sheep because they have
been given to Him by the Father (17:29).
But he not only knows us
individually, He knows all about us. He knows that
we are sinners and went ahead and died for us on the
cross. "For while we were still helpless, at the
right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will
hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for
the good man someone would dare even to die. But God
demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while
we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans
B. F. Westcott candidly
writes: "nothing in His flock is hidden from Him:
their weaknesses, their failures, their temptations,
their sins, the good which they have neglected when
it was within reach, the evil which they have
pursued when it lay afar. All is open before His
eyes. He knows them . . . and He loves them still."
The good Shepherd
died for His sheep.
"I am the good shepherd;
the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
. . I lay down My life for the sheep. . . For this
reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My
life so 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" (vv. 11, 15, 17-18). The
shepherd provides substitutionary atonement for His
sheep. He died on behalf of or instead of sinners.
There is only one
There are not many ways
to God. There is only one Door. "I am the door; if
anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will
go in and out and find pasture" (v. 9).
To enter through the door
is the same thing as to "eat" Jesus, "drink" Jesus,
or to "come" to Jesus. You must believe on Christ or
trust in Him personally to be saved. We are not
trusting in things to be saved. The Door is a
person, the Lord Jesus Christ. He becomes ours
through believing on Him. The only thing necessary
is to believe or trust in Jesus Christ. Have you
believed or trusted in Him for everlasting life?
It helps us to imagine
that the cross has a door in it. Jesus invites us to
go through it. Above the door is written the great
invitation to all: "Whosoever will, may come."
Every sinner stands there before the door. When you
enter in by faith you discover that all of your sins
are forgiven and you are safe within His fold.
Rejoicing with all the saints in heaven you then
turn around and see written on the backside of the
cross those wonderful words of grace, "Chosen in Him
before the foundation of the world." Oh to grace,
how great a debtor!
You may enter the
door right now
The man born blind hand
nothing; he was a beggar. He was noting; people
pushed him out of the synagogue. But this is the
very man Jesus called and he heard His voice and
responded. The man whom everyone despised was the
man Jesus saved. He passed through the door to
eternal life. There is no greater security than this
because the sheep are in the care of the Good
Title: John 10:1-11
"I am the Door"
Series: The I AM
sayings of Jesus