Bible Question:

Is John 10:1-6 a parable? Please explain its meaning.

Bible Answer:

John 10:1-6 is a parable about the Good Shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

“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. 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.” This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them. (NASB) John 10:1-6

Cultural Setting

A sheepfold is a large enclosed or fenced area in which sheep can spend the night. The sheep enter and leave by a gate or a door. During the night a guard watches the sheep in the sheepfold and protects them. After an evening’s rest, the shepherd will arise, eat his breakfast, and eventually come and call his sheep to himself. It is important to note that a sheepfold will usually provide shelter for many flocks belonging to different shepherds. Yet, the sheep will know the voice of their shepherd and follow only their own shepherd.

The Interpretation

The interpretation of the parable is given to us by Jesus Himself in John 10:7-16. The “shepherd of the sheep” in this illustration is Jesus Christ (John 10:11) and any other person is a robber or thief (John 10:7-8). He is the door and the shepherd (John 10:7, 11); Jesus is the way to eternal life and He is the One who keeps us. Jesus is the good shepherd for two more reasons. First, He was the predicted and promised Messiah and King (Isa. 7:14; 11:1; 9:6; Dan. 9:25-27; Luke 1:32). No one else qualifies. No one else is the true Messiah or future King of the entire world. Second, Jesus is referred to as a shepherd throughout the New Testament (Matthew 2:6; Heb. 13:20-21; 1 Peter. 2:25; 5:4; Rev. 7:17). As we have already said, Jesus says that He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11). The sheep are those who believe in Jesus Christ (John 10:9, 16, 27-28) and as a result know the voice of the true shepherd and will not follow another (John 10:27-28). Those who follow anyone other than Jesus Christ are not the sheep in this parable (John 10:26). Those who truly belong to God will follow Jesus Christ and no other (John 10:14). Jesus is the Good Shepherd because He was willing to and did die for all those who believe in Him – His sheep (John 10:17-18).

Conclusion:

The message of this parable is that Jesus is the true shepherd. He is the Good Shepherd who was willing to die and did die for those who put their faith in Him. Any other person who claims to be the true shepherd is a robber or thief. he or she is a false shepherd. This was a powerful message to the Jewish religious leaders who considered themselves to be the true shepherds of God’s flock. This is a wonderful message for anyone who seeks peace with God and security in eternity. Jesus is the Door to eternal salvation and He is the Good Shepherd who cares, watches, and protects those who believe in Him.

Reference Links:

Where is Jesus' other fold?
What do the terms