John chapter 10 starts with a parable of the good shepherd. Jesus is still in Judea and still involved since chapter 5 already, in a war of words between himself and the Pharisees and the Jewish leaders. At the end of chapter 9 Jesus told them that it would have been better for them if they were spiritually blind but, since they say that they are not, their guilt remains. John 10:1-5 is the parable of the shepherd. This parable is based mostly on Jeremiah 23 and Ezekiel 34. We start our message with the explanation of the parable.
John 10:6-15 (ESVST)
This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
As indicated, Jesus realized that they did not understand the parable and decided to explain it.
7 So Jesus again said to them, “ Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
Remember in John 14, Jesus said that he is the way, the truth and the life.
John 14:6 (ESVST)
Jesus said to him, “ I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Paul also confirming that Jesus is the access to the Father.
Ephesians 2:18 (ESVST)
For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
Jesus is simply saying that he is the only way that we as sinners can have access to the grace shown by God and through no other means can this grace be accessed.
8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
In this verse Jesus refers to the leaders of Israel as mentioned in Jeremiah 23 and Ezekiel 34. The thieves and the robbers refer to the leaders of Israel including the false prophets. Jesus says these are thieves and robbers.
Jeremiah 23:2 (ESVST)
Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people:“You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord.
Ezekiel 34:1-2 (ESVST)
1 The word of the Lord came to me:2 “ Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?
These are the people that Jesus is referring to as thieves and robbers. These as I said are the leaders and the false prophets of Israel. Jesus then said those that are true sheep, meaning true believers, did not listen to these thieves and robbers.
9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
Jesus here again saying that he is the only way to God and to everlasting life, he is the door and there is no other door leading to eternal life. Jesus says if anyone believes in him, will be saved and just like the sheep who freely go in and out to find food , he will be as free as them.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Jesus says although these thieves and robbers came only looking after themselves at the expense of the sheep, he on the other hand, he has come so that the sheep may have life and not only life but life in abundance.
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Jesus says unlike the thieves and the robbers, unlike the leaders and the false prophets of Israel, he is the good shephered. He is the good shephered because he lays down his life just like a good shephered would do for his sheep. Jesus by this is referring to his death on the cross which he died on our behalf.
12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
Jesus here now contrast himself as a good shephered and the leaders of Israel who are thieves and robbers who would not lay down their lives for the people instead will do everything to only look after themselves. Jesus says that they are just hired hands, meaning they have not emotional attachment to the people of God. They just there for themselves.
14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Jesus then said again that he is the good shephered and his sheep know him and he knows them. Jesus says that in the same way, he knows God and God knows him. Then Jesus said that, I not only know my sheep but I lay down my life for them as well.