Daily Word

Sheep – shepherd relationship | John 10:1 – 6

1 “Truly, truly I say to you, the one 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. 2 But the one who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep listen to his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he puts all his own sheep outside, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.

5 However, a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus told them this figure of speech, but they did not understand what the things which He was saying to them meant.

Jesus now shares the famous analogy of the Good Shepherd. It’s broken into three parts. Today He identifies Himself as a shepherd with a focus on the relationship with the sheep. The next section talks about Jesus being the Door for the sheep to go in and out for pasture. Finally, He describes the extent of His love for the sheep.

The context is the recent miracle and dealing with the Pharisees. “The religious leaders had shown themselves to be so unhelpful and cruel to the [blind] man, his parents, and the common people in general that Jesus felt it necessary to talk about the contrast between His heart and work as a leader to God’s people and the heart and work of many of the religious leaders of His day.” (enduringword.com)


Let’s first recognize the obvious – that in this analogy, we are the sheep and Jesus is the shepherd. Don’t be too proud. One thing to know about sheep is, well, they’re dumb. After watching this hilarious video, you will be convinced. Because of this, they need protection and direction. Their shepherd watches over them carefully and will not lose one. We’ll see the extent of his care in two days.

Listen to shepherd’s voice

The sheep know the voice of the shepherd and listen to his voice. It’s repeated many times. They won’t listen to the voice of anyone else – even another shepherd. This implies relationship. The video below portrays this in an amazing way.

Shepherd or Thief

Jesus distinguishes the shepherd from anyone else who comes to “take care of” the sheep. The shepherd:

  1. enters the sheep pen properly, through the door and the doorkeeper opens for him. The thief tries to get in another way and steal the sheep. He is likely referring to the Pharisees foisting themselves on the sheep.
  2. calls the sheep by name. He knows them individually. He’s lived with them their whole life (10-12 years). 
  3. puts (selects) them out of the pen. He carefully selects his own sheep from the others that are in the pen.
  4. leads them / goes ahead of them. Some of you may immediately think of Psalm 21 – “He leads me…” King David was a shepherd as a young boy so knew exactly what it meant to lead sheep. 
<- Reflection ->
  • With Jesus as the Shepherd and us as the sheep, what does this mean about our relationship to him? Dependent comes to mind for me. What about you? Leave a quick comment.
  • Do you know the voice of the Shepherd, Jesus? Do you listen to His voice? Note that it is not “hear”, which is different.
Sheep listen to shepherd

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