I AM the Door
Christ the Door To Temporal (earthly) Rest
Vs. 1 “Truly, Truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another wa, that man is a thief and a robber.”
*To understand “The Door” we must first understand the sheepfold.*
Shepherding was a primary occupation and way of life at this time and region.
The Sheepfold was typically, a large, enclosed stable crafted of stone. Sometimes even defended by thorns or briars much like barbed wire.
Also defended by a gatekeeper who would keep watch of the door by night as the Shepherds rest.
To further understand the sheepfold and the rest of the figure of speech we must understand the context of chapter 9.
There is no break between chapter 9 and 10.
Chapter 10 is a continuation of the conversation begun in chapter 9.
Chapter 9 is the story of a blind man who was healed by Christ.
As the man, now seeing, begins to proclaim certain truths about Jesus, the religious elites of the time, out of envy and anger, cast this man out of the synagogue. That is, they essentially excommunicate him from the faith.
This is significant. These people who viewed themselves as the exclusive shepherds of God’s flock prove not to care for the flock by casting one of God’s people whom Christ gave sight to out of the temple.
They believed and professed Christ to be false. In response, Christ begins chapter 10 (the Good Shepherd discourse) as an indictment against them.
As an indictment against False Shepherds.
So then, understanding these things we can get a clear picture of what the sheepfold represents.
The sheepfold is a temporary holding place to which the Good Shepherd comes to lead His flock out to pasture.
The sheepfold in the immediate context represents Judaism: Christ comes to lead His people into true religion.
Furter expanding the context the sheepfold represents the world: Christ comes to lead His people out of the world into rest (pasture)
This rest is two-fold
In this world, our pasture is the Church. It is the tangible reflection of Heaven on Earth. We come weekly, out of the sheepfold, into the church to find rest and nourishment.
It is a reflection of the ultimate rest we find in Glory.
The thieves and robbers as you might expect then, are false teachers.
Vs. 2 “But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the shepherd of the sheep.”
Christ is the ultimate authority over the sheep.
Christ exercises this authority not bodily, but through under shepherds.
Men who have been called by Christ to be His ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20), His examples (1 Tim 4:12), and His reflection)
A theme not detached from the Old Testament (1 Chronicles 11:2)
As David was to be a foreshadowing of the Ultimate Shepherd, so too are the men in our pulpits to be reflections of Christ.
Christ is the door into the Church.
Further clarity comes from verses 7-8: “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.”
Clearly Jesus is not saying that every person before Him was false.
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Moses, etc. He would never deny to be true men sent by Him
He is speaking to those who “came over the walls.”
The OT is full of wicked men who heaped up for themselves prophets that would speak favorably to them (1 Kings 22)
The NT Likewise is filled with men who preached Christ for vain purposes
This Scripture is clear: They are thieves and robbers. Antichrists, false prophets, false apostles, false shepherds whose desire is made clear in verse 10.
“To steal kill and destroy.”
The implication is that for the church (temporal rest), one must be called, sent, and ordained by God to shepherd the flock.
The ancient sheepfold would often be a community sheepfold, housing multiple shepherds’ flocks. So too Christ has entrusted His flock to multiple men who have entered the church by Him (the door). Those who have entered by His will and permission.
Matthew Henry gives clarity: “Christ is the door of the shepherds, so that none who come not in by Him are to be accounted pastors, but thieves and robbers (though they pretended to be shepherds.)”
Vs. 3-5 “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
A beautiful picture of the work of the pastor and earthly shepherd in leading the flock of God.
Every Sunday the Pastor leads us briefly out of the sheepfold of this cold, dark world, into the presence of the Good Shepherd to nourish us and give us rest. One day, we will be led out by Christ once and for all. Into the eternal green pastures, where there is no more fear of danger (The wolf will lie with the lamb after all!)
But we must ask ourselves: How do we know that a shepherd has entered by the door into the church?
Because we will recognize the voice of Christ in them.
They will lead us as Christ led.
They will go before us.
If we do not recognize the voice, than we must do what the Scripture states a good sheep does: Flee
Flee Those who kill, steal and destroy
Flee those who preach for profit
For a Crowd
They care not at all for the sheep.
They have climbed in over the walls to do violence to the sheep. To fleece them to clothe themselves.
The shepherd who has entered by the door is to provide the flock of God rest and weekly nourishment. We must ensure that those we entrust the flock to are shepherds sent by Christ who have entered by His divine permission.
Christ the Door to Everlasting Rest
Vs. 9-10 “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.”
Here we find the more well-known understanding of Jesus’ I am the door statement.
First we saw the shepherds entering by the door. Now we see the sheep entering by the door. Indeed, Jesus here states explicitly: If anyone enters by the door “He will be saved.” Later, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Jesus is now clearly speaking of eternal realities. He is now speaking of Eternal Rest.
Matthew Poole paints the picture of the contrast between false shepherds and the true shepherd: “But that is not my end in coming into the world: I am not come to destroy them, but to save them; I am come, that they might have a spiritual life, and at last eternal life; that they might live the life of grace here, and not fail of the life of glory hereafter; and not only that they may barely live, but that their life may abound, through the upholdings, strengthenings, quickenings, and comfortings of my holy and gracious Spirit; that my beloved may not only drink, but drink abundantly; not only live, but live abundantly furnished with all the affluences and accommodations of a spiritual life”
This is the Good News of the Gospel
That Christ is the door to everlasting life.
This is Good News, and Terrible News
Good news that there is a door at all. There should be no door. We should be left to perish for our sin.
Terrible news because the flesh wants there to be multiple ways.
We live in an age of cultural relativism.
We live in an age where we desperately want there to be multiple paths to enlightenment and peace.
But Christ is the exclusive and only door. (1 Timothy 2:5; John 14:6; Acts 4:12)
Even in our churches, though some proclaim Christ to be the only way, they like to imagine there to be multiple ways to that one door. Perhaps they want grace to mean rest from His burdensome commands but 1 John 5:3 says “His commands are not burdensome.” Christ says “If you love me you will keep my commands (John 14:15).” Where there is no obedience, there is no love, where there is no love, there is one who has not entered by the door.
There are those who prove to be false in how they have tried to force their way into heaven over the walls by any other means possible (Formalism, morality, free-grace, etc.)
There are those who prove to be false sheep in how they flock to the sounds of false shepherds who preach a gospel that can’t save. One filled with false love and cheap grace.
There is another way however…
The way that seems right to a man (Prov 14:12)
The gate that is wide and the way that is easy (Matt 7:13-14.)
Enter by the Gate and be saved.