Sheep: Good Shephard
How does a shepherd get his sheep to follow him when he comes for them. They know His voice.
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1. “The sheepfold was a place of security, not a place for intruders. Such a sheepfold would likely have been either a circular or square enclosure, probably constructed like a high stone fence or wall and perhaps topped with vines. The entrance would have been the only break in the wall, and once the sheep were safely inside at night, the watchman/guard (either a servant or a shepherd, usually an assistant) would lie down across the opening and serve both as the protector for the sheep and as a gate to the sheepfold. Unless an intruder was willing to confront the watchman, the only way into the sheepfold was to climb the wall.” (Borchert, Gerald L., The New American Commentary Volume 25A, John 1-11. [Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002], 331)
“It was not unusual for several flocks to be sheltered together in the same fold. In the morning, the shepherds would come, call their sheep, and assemble their own flocks. Each sheep recognized his own master’s voice.” (Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. [Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004], 329)
If a thief did get into the fold to steal the sheep “they would never get the sheep to follow them, for the sheep follow only the voice of their own shepherd. The false shepherds can never lead the sheep, so they must steel them away.” (Wiersbe, 329)
Shepherd calls by Name
2. The shepherd “could enter the sheepfold through the opening to check his sheep. The use of ‘his own,’ is a clear indication of intimate ownership.” (Borchert, 331)
3. “The text emphasizes the intimacy that existed between the shepherd and his sheep by indicating that the shepherd called his sheep by name.” (Borchert, 331)
“Whom does the porter [KJV] [doorkeeper – modern translations] represent? The porter is the Holy Spirit. The spirit of God came upon Jesus, and everything that He did, He did by the power of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit was opening the ears of His sheep to hear His voice. The sheep have responded.” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV: [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 429)
4. The sheep know the voice of the Shepherd.
“The shepherd knows the setting, leads the sheep, and they follow him.” (Borchert, 332)
5. “Sometimes ‘leaders’ today are like the strangers of this text, whose voices are unknown to the sheep, and they wonder why there are problems in their organizations.” (Borchert, 332)
6. “The word here is best translated ‘illustration’ or ‘figure of speech’ and conveys the idea that something cryptic or enigmatic is intended in it…Having given the illustration (vv. 1-5), Jesus then began to draw salient spiritual truth from it.” (MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. [Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005], 1391)
7. Jesus “is the Door of the sheepfold and makes it possible for the sheep to leave the fold (the religion of Judaism) and enter His flock. The Pharisees threw the beggar out of the synagogue, but Jesus led him out of Judaism and into the flock of God!” (Wiersbe, 329)
8. The thieves and robbers were those who “were essentially and continued to be inspired by selfishness, whether their designs were manifested by craft or by violence, and whether they were directed to gain or to dominion” (Westcott, B. E The Gospel According to John. [London: James Clarke & Co., Ltd., 1958] 153). [Max Anders and Kenneth O. Gangel (2012). HNTC Vol. 04: John. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]).
9. “The Shepherd does not stop with leading the sheep out: He also leads them in…He is the Door of salvation. Those who trust Him enter into the Lord’s flock and fold, and they have the wonderful privilege of going ‘in and out’ and finding pasture.” (Wiersbe, 329)
10. “Belief in Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God is the only way of being ‘saved’ from sin and hell and receiving eternal life.” (MacArthur, 1391)
Life for the Sheep
11. “This is a reference to Jesus’ substitutionary death for sinners on the Cross. Cf. verse 15; 6:51; 11:50-51; 17:19; 18:14.” (MacArthur, 1391)
12. “The hireling (or hired hand) likely represents religious leaders who perform their duty in good times, but who never display sacrificial care for the sheep in times of danger. They stand in contrast to Jesus who laid down His life for his flock (see 15:13).” (MacArthur 1391)
13 “When there is danger, the hireling runs away, while the true shepherd stays and cares for the flock…The Good Shepherd purchases the sheep, and they are His because He cares for them.” (Wiersbe, 330)
14-15. “We see in this paragraph that the shepherd relates to the sheep in trust and intimacy. What a comparison! The good shepherd knows his sheep in the same way the Father knows the Son. Not only that, but the sheep know the shepherd in the same way the Son knows the Father.” [Max Anders and Kenneth O. Gangel (2012). HNTC Vol. 04: John. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]
“In this text the meaning that is being emphasized is that Jesus represents authentic security for his people whereas those who are not aligned with Jesus are ultimately destructive symbols set against the well-being of the sheep.” (Borchert, 334)
16. “But who are these other sheep that are not of this sheep pen? Most scholars believe this refers to non-Jews, the Gentile believers who would become a part of the Lord’s people as the disciples preached the gospel in Acts. And in multiflock pens, it becomes all the more important for sheep to understand their master’s voice.” [Max Anders and Kenneth O. Gangel (2012). HNTC Vol. 04: John. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]
17-18. Jesus ‘makes it very clear that He gave is life willingly. He was in full control at the trial.” (McGee, 432)
“The Lord emphasized that his death on the cross would not occur because earthly powers are stronger than the power of the heavenly Father. He would lay down his life willingly and at the time the Father required it. Substitutionary atonement is the heart of the gospel (Isa. 53:6), and that certainly focuses the Lord’s words here.” [Max Anders and Kenneth O. Gangel (2012). HNTC Vol. 04: John. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]
19-21. “How did the listeners respond to this message? ‘There was a division therefore again among the Jews.’” (Wiersbe, 331)
“The Jews once again had a mixed reaction to Jesus’ words (see 7:12-13). While some charged Him with demon possession (see 7:20; 8:48; cf. Matthew 12:22-32), others concluded His works and words were a demonstration of God’s sanction upon Him.” (MacArthur, 1392)
“The issue is still the same today as it was then. Either the Lord Jesus Christ was a mad man or He is the Savior of the world. Either He has a demon of He is the Son of God. There has always been that division.” (McGee, 422)
Amplified Bible (AMP)
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Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.
Borchert, Gerald L., The New American Commentary Volume 25A, John 1-11. Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002
Max Anders and Kenneth O. Gangel (2012). HNTC Vol. 04: John. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV: Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983
MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005
Westcott, B. E The Gospel According to John. London: James Clarke & Co., Ltd., 1958. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com
Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004