So Jesus again said to them, “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 listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by 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.” (John 10:7-10).
Beginning in John 10:7, Jesus utters the third of seven recorded statements found in the Gospel of John which depict His deity. The first was “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35). The second was “I am the Light of the World (John 8:12). The third is “I am the door of the sheep.”
As we have already noted in John 10:1-6, Jesus uses the phrase “truly, truly” in order to place great emphasis on what He is about to say. It is at this point that He announces to the people in general, and the Pharisees in particular, that He is the door belonging to the sheep. What exactly does Jesus mean by using this metaphor of a door?
The word door (θύρα; thyra) refers to an entrance or a doorway. Jesus uses it figuratively in John 10:7 to refer to Himself as the only means of access to salvation. He repeats Himself in John 10:9. In both instances, Jesus uses the present active phrase ἐγώ, εἰμί (ego eimi) to indicate the He is the eternally self-existent Lord of heaven and earth who is known as Yahweh. There can be no misunderstanding that Jesus is personally declaring that He is God.
Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “Jesus then developed the shepherd/sheep figure of speech in another way. After a shepherd’s flock has been separated from the other sheep, he takes them to pasture. Near the pasture is an enclosure for the sheep. The shepherd takes his place in the doorway or entrance and functions as a door or gate. The sheep can go out to the pasture in front of the enclosure, or if afraid, they can retreat into the security of the enclosure. The spiritual meaning is that Jesus is the only Gate by which people can enter into God’s provision for them.”
In referring to those who came before Him as thieves and robbers, Jesus was referring to past and present spiritual leaders who endeavored to lead the people of God astray. They were those leaders of Israel who did not care for the spiritual good of the people but rather only for themselves. By contrast, Jesus alone provides security for His flock from these enemies of God’s people.
Rather than those who come only to steal, kill and destroy, Jesus came that His sheep may have an exceptional life. This entails a life in which the sinner is not only saved from the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin and eventually from the presence of sin.
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “These two verses (John 10:9-10) are a proverbial way of insisting that 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. Only Jesus Christ is the one true source for the knowledge of God and the one basis for spiritual security.”
Pastor Burk Parsons states, “The sheepfold provides security for the sheep, and in verses 7–10, Jesus draws on this image to teach us about Himself. He tells us that He is the “door of the sheep” (v. 7). He is the one point of access to eternal safety and security. Only He is the gateway to pasture, to the sustenance of eternal life (v. 9). He is not like those false religious leaders who sneak into the sheepfold in order to destroy the sheep, but He is the gateway to abundant life (v. 10).”
Take time today to thank the Lord Jesus for being your source of security because He alone provides access to God the Father.
Soli deo Gloria!