Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Parable of the Sheepfold

Read John 10:1-6.

A parable is a short story that uses natural things to explain spiritual truths.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd who watches over His sheep and feeds them.  His sheep are all those who believe in Him and follow Him.  In Bible days a shepherd always walked in front of His sheep, calling them as he went.  All the sheep knew his voice, and they followed him.  When another shepherd came near with his sheep, the first man’s sheep would not go after the second man because they knew the voice of their own shepherd.

Jesus the Good Shepherd

Read John 10:7-21.

Jesus spoke of Himself as the door.  In Bible lands a shepherd kept his sheep in a fenced corral or compound at night to protect them from wild animals.  This was the sheepfold.  After all the sheep were safe inside, the shepherd would sit down in the open door.  He would protect the sheep. No wild animal could get in as long as he was there.

A thief would not try to enter by the door but would climb over the fence to steal a sheep if he could.  Jesus said that some religious leaders were like that.  They did not really love the people but only wanted to get what they could from them.

Jesus said that He did not come to destroy, but to give life; life in all its fullness.  Life in all its fullness is a wonderful life here on earth and a never-ending life in heaven.

Jesus said, “I am the door.  Whoever comes in by me will be saved.”  He did not say He was one of many doors, but that He was THE door – the only door.  Some people try to get to God through prophets, through saints, through Mary, or by joining a church.  But Jesus is the only way, the only door (gate) to salvation.

Jesus said that a man had to come in.  Just like the door was open for the sheep, Jesus invites everyone to come to Him and have eternal life.  But God will not force anyone to come to Jesus and be one of His sheep.  Each person must choose for himself.  If a person comes into Jesus’ sheepfold, he will be saved.  If he does not enter, he will not be saved.  It is just as simple as that.

Jesus said that He would give His life for His sheep.  He would do this by His own choice; no one could take His life from Him.  At that time certain people were trying to kill Him.  There would come a day when He would be crucified: nailed to a cross made of wood and left there to die.

When the time came for Him to die, He would let His enemies kill Him.  But He knew that death would not be the end for Him.  He said, “I am willing to give up my life, in order that I may receive it back again.”  Jesus would come back to life and prove His power over death.  His resurrection would prove that He was truly the Son of God.

Once again some of the people were angry at His words, but others believed.  Those who did not believe were not His sheep, for His sheep would hear His voice.

Jesus Rejected by the Jews

Read John 10:22-42.

Some of the people wanted to kill Jesus because He said that He was the Son of God (verse 36) and gave eternal life to His followers (verse 28).  Others accepted Him as their Good Shepherd and followed Him.  You too must choose whether to follow Jesus or go your own way like a lost sheep.

Take the quiz

Quiz Instructions

Test your knowledge by answering a few questions.

1. Why did Jesus call Himself the Good Shepherd?

a) He owned many sheep.

b) He took good care of sheep and goats.

c) He takes care of those who belong to Him like a good shepherd takes care of his sheep.

2. How many doors are there to salvation?

a) There are many, for there are many religions by which we can be saved.

b) There are at least four: Mary, the saints, the prophets, the church.

c) There is only one door, and that door is Jesus.

3. What do you have to do in order to be saved?

a) You have to enter in order to be saved.

b) You have to wait until someone opens the door.

c) You do not have to do anything.

4. How did Jesus say He would show His love for His sheep?

a) He would lead them to green pastures.

b) He would give His life for His sheep.

c) He would lead them beside quiet waters.

5. When Jesus presented Himself as the Good Shepherd, how did the people receive Him?

a) Some wanted to kill Him; others followed Him.

b) They all rejected Him.

c) They all believed in Him.

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