The Gospel of John – Lesson 27 – John 10:1-21

“Amen, Amen, I tell you: Anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the door, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. The doorkeeper opens the door for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own sheep, he walks ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration in speaking to the people, but they did not understand what he was telling them. So Jesus said again, “Amen, Amen, I tell you: I am the door for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. Whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10“A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired man, who is not a shepherd, does not own the sheep. He sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep, and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. 13 Because he works for money, he does not care about the sheep. 14“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me 15 (just as the Father knows me and I know the Father). And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I also have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. Then there will be one flock and one shepherd. 17 This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life so that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it up again. This is the commission I received from my Father.” 19 There was a division among the Jews again because of these words. 20 Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is out of his mind! Why listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the sayings of someone demon-possessed. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

Jesus often used examples from everyday life to teach truths of God’s Word. In John 10, Jesus used the example of the shepherd and his sheep. At night the shepherd would lead the sheep to the sheep pen. There the sheep would be safer from thieves and predators. In the daytime the shepherd would lead his sheep out through the door of the sheep pen to pastures where they could eat and drink. The shepherd and the sheep would develop a close connection. When the shepherd came to the sheep pen, he would call out to his sheep. The sheep knew the shepherds’ voice and they would follow him. If someone else they didn’t know came to the sheep pen the sheep wouldn’t follow when he called.

Jesus used this example to show the relationship between him and his flock (all his followers). Notice that Jesus began his teaching by saying “Amen” twice. The word means “Yes it shall be so.” By repeating the amen twice, Jesus is putting extra emphasis on what he is about to say.

Notice this section of God’s Word also contains two more “I Am” statements. As we talked in previous lessons, Jesus is again proclaiming he is true God. Each “I Am” statement reveals more about God and his relationship with us.

First Jesus said “I am the door for the sheep.” In John 1 Jesus was called “the Word.” The Word Jesus brings to us calls us to trust in him as our Savior. He is the only doorway to eternal life. All who hear his Word and believe are now a part of his flock. The Word is also the means by which Jesus nourishes his flock. The Word of God keeps our faith in Jesus strong so that we do not fall away from him. No one can enter heaven through any door other than Jesus.

Jesus said those who came before him were thieves and robbers. This refers to the false prophets who claimed they were from God, but in reality their messages went against the pure Word of God. An example was the Pharisees at Jesus’ time. They were pointing people away from Jesus and emphasizing works to become right with God. Jesus called them thieves and robbers because their message robbed people of the only way to eternal life.

Jesus also called himself the “Good Shepherd.” The role of the shepherd was to lead the sheep to safe pastures and to protect them from predators. Sometimes the shepherd had to put his life on the line to protect his sheep. With this example, Jesus foretold his impending death on the cross. By laying down his life, he rescued us from the predators, sin, death, and the devil. By his death on the cross, Jesus washed us clean of all our sins. He also rose again from the grave to deliver us from death and the devil and to give eternal life to all who trust in him.

Jesus remains our door. We know that there is no other way to eternal life except through him. We listen to the message of his Word. We refuse to listen to false teachers. We believe the warning Jesus gave us. False teachers are trying to steal our salvation and lead us to eternal torment in hell.

Jesus is also our good shepherd. We put our trust in him to protect us from our enemies. Sin cannot overcome us because Jesus won our forgiveness on the cross. Death cannot overcome us because Jesus rose from the dead. The devil will not overcome us. Jesus has already crushed his power. The devil cannot accuse us any longer. Our Good Shepherd will protect us and lead us to eternal life.

Discussion Questions

1 – We are the sheep of Jesus’ flock. Why won’t we listen to the voice of strangers? (verse 5)
By the grace of God we believe Jesus is the only way to eternal life. The stranger represents false teachers (as do the thieves and robbers in verse 8). We know their message is contrary to God’s Word. False teaching only leads us away from Jesus. We want nothing to do with such a message.

2 – What did Jesus mean in verse 10 when he said “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly?”
Even in this life we enjoy peace, joy, and contentment in knowing that we are God’s children through faith in Jesus. We trust that God will work things work out for our good. He will finally lead us to eternal life.

3 – Who are the other sheep Jesus talked about in verse 16?
Jesus’ ministry up to this point was focused mostly on the Jews. However he always intended that the good news of the Gospel would be proclaimed to all nations. He knew that people from many places would hear the Gospel and believe in him and have eternal life. We are included among those other sheep.

4 – What did Jesus refer to when he said in verse 18, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it up again?”
Jesus pointed ahead to his death and resurrection. He emphasizes he would not be defeated by death. He would freely give himself over to death in order to save us. Death would not be able to hold him any longer than what God planned. Jesus had full authority to take his life up again at the time God had chosen.

If you have any questions about the Word of God we studied in this lesson please contact Pastor Greg Tobison. You can send your questions to