In our text last Sunday Jesus spoke about the judgment

which He brought to the world at His first coming.  He

explained that He judged those who place their faith in Him

as the Son of God and as the Savior to be acceptable to God.

Those who place their faith in Jesus as the Son of God are

saved.  This is a judgment that will stand throughout all


      He further explained that He judged those who reject Him

as the Son of God and as the Savior to be spiritually blind

and, thus, unacceptable to God.  This, too, is a judgment

that will stand throughout all eternity.  All who reject Him

are unsaved.

      In our text today Jesus gives the first part of a

parable which uses a sheepfold to illustrate spiritual

truth.  The entire parable goes through verse 18.  Normally

I would try to cover in one sermon all of the verses which

pertain to the parable.

      However, I feel that in this particular case, it will

make it much easier to understand the parable if I break it

up into parts and deal with only one part at a time.

      The setting for this text follows immediately after

Jesus spoke about bringing judgment.  The former blind man,

along with the apostles were present.  The group of

Pharisees who had inquired if He thought they were

spiritually blind was also present.  In addition, there were

probably a goodly number of the general public present to

hear the parable.

      This parable is designed to show a contrast between

Jesus, Himself, and the Jewish leaders who opposed Him.

Jesus used a sheepfold, which was common to everyday life in

Israel to illustrate the point that He wanted to make.

There were many sheep and many shepherds in Israel and

everybody was familiar with a sheepfold.


I.  What a sheepfold is


      A sheepfold was an enclosure which was built to hold

sheep at night so as to provide protection during the night

while they were not grazing.  Usually it would be built near

a city or village and all of the shepherds of the whole area

would bring their flocks into that one sheepfold late in the

evening for protection during the night.  In this way, the

sheep had a measure of protection from attack by wild

animals and thieves who would desire to kill and steal


      In some areas, where there was no city or village

nearby, a sheepfold was built right out in open country.

Even there a sheepfold would provide a lot more protection

for the sheep than they would have by just letting them lay

out in the open field at night.

      Each sheepfold had only one door or entrance.  A guard

was posted at that door throughout the night to prevent

thieves from entering through the door.  This guard or

doorkeeper is called "the porter" in our text.  If he should

need help to protect the sheep he could summons help by

blowing a horn.


II. What Jesus said about a sheepfold in the text


      Yet in a sheepfold the sheep were still subject to

attack.   Both man and beast could climb over the wall and

kill and steal sheep.  V. 1, "Verily, verily, I say unto

you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold,

but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a

robber."  If anyone was caught climbing over the wall, it

was obvious that he was not one of the shepherds.  He was a

thief.  He, at least, intended to steal sheep.  If any man

was caught inside the sheepfold who had not entered through

the door, it was obvious that he was there for the purpose

of stealing.  He would sneak in and try to kill a sheep and

lift it over the wall so that he could climb back over and

get it without going out through the door.  Such thievery

not only could happen, but often did.

      V. 2, "But he that entereth in by the door is the

shepherd of the sheep."  In contrast to the thief who would

climb over the wall, the shepherd always used the door to

enter the sheepfold.  He would never climb over the wall.

      V. 3, "To him the porter openeth..."  The shepherd, of

course, would make no effort to enter during the night.  He

would wait until the next morning.  Then he would return to

the door of the sheepfold and identify himself to the

porter.  The porter would never open the door to any one

without first identifying him and knowing that he had a

right to come in.  Once the shepherd was properly

identified, the porter would unlatch the door from the

inside and let him in.

      (V. 3), "...and the sheep hear his voice: and he

calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out."  Once

inside, the shepherd would need to separate his sheep from

the many other sheep.  They were just all mixed together

inside the fold.  He knew each sheep by name and he would

just start calling his sheep by name.  He might have a

hundred sheep, but he would call them all by name and here

they would come right to him.  It would not make any

difference if several had the same name.  His sheep all knew

his voice and they would not come to anybody else.


III.  The thing that Jesus wanted His audience to take

      notice of concerning the sheepfold


      In this part of the parable the thing which Jesus wanted

His listeners to see was the great difference between those

who would climb the fence to get into the sheepfold and the

shepherds who had a legitimate reason to be in the


      The man who climbed the fence was a thief.  He was not

there to help the sheep in any way.  He as not there to help

the porter in any way.  He was not there to help the

shepherd in any way.  He was not there to help the owner of

the sheep in any way.  He was there to wrongfully take the

sheep that belonged to somebody else and use it for his own

selfish purpose.  He was there to kill and to steal sheep.

He would even kill the porter if necessary.  He was there to

rob from the shepherd and from the owner of the sheep.  He

was a wicked man.  He was a bandit.  He was a criminal.  He

was an outlaw.  He a thief and a thug.

      On the other hand, the shepherd loved the sheep and

sought only their well being.  He would lead them out into

the fields to find grass.  He would lead them to the streams

and pools of water for drink.  He would risk his life

fighting off wild animals or blood-thirst thieves.  Many a

shepherd has lost his life trying to protect the sheep.

This was common knowledge to all of the people to whom Jesus

was talking.  To put it into modern terms, the man who

climbed over the wall was a man who wore a black hat and the

shepherd, who would enter through the door, wore a white

hat.  The man who climbed over the wall was the bad guy and

the shepherd who entered through the door was the good guy.

There was not a man under the sound of the voice of Jesus

who did not understand this.


IV.  The spiritual truth that Jesus wanted them to see from

      the parable


      But the thing which Jesus wanted to illustrate by this

parable was that the Jewish leaders who were against Him

were the bad guys.  Virtually the whole city, by this time

knew that the Jewish leaders were trying to kill Jesus.

They had posted lookouts at every entrance to the city of

Jerusalem to watch for His arrival.  They had inquired all

over the city whether or not anybody had seen Him.  When He

did arrive they instructed the temple guards to arrest Him.

When the temple guards refused to arrest him, they debated

with Him daily in the temple courtyard trying to turn the

people against Him.  Then after Jesus gave sight to the

blind man, they tried to get the man to testify against

Jesus so they could arrest Him.  When the man would not

testify against Jesus they excommunicated him from the


      In addition to this, they used their high offices to

exploit the people and live in great wealth at the expense

of the people.  They were never interested in the spiritual

welfare or physical or material welfare of the people.  They

did not care that a man in their city had been born blind.

They had no pit on him because of his blindness.  When Jesus

gave that man his eyesight, they were not in the least happy

for him.  Nor did they care about the welfare of any of

their people.  In Matthew chapter 23:14 Jesus accused them

of devouring widows' houses.  That is, they would take the

last penny of a poor widow in order to make themselves a

little richer.  As for their spirituality, Jesus said that

they were hypocrites who were deserving of the greatest kind

of punishment from God.  These were the kind of people who

sat in the highest positions of religious leadership in the

land of Israel.

      On the other hand God had sent men to the people of

Israel who were true shepherds.  They were true spiritual

leaders.  Back in Old Testament times God had sent His

prophets to the land who had spoken and written about the

coming of the Christ.  But the Jewish refused to consider

that Jesus might be the Christ.  Shortly after the birth of

Jesus, when Jesus was brought to the temple, God had both a

prophet and a prophetess to testify that Jesus is the Christ

whom the prophets of old had promised.  But the leaders

ignored what they said.  Then came John the Baptist who,

after baptizing Jesus, publicly identified Jesus as the Son

of God and as the Savior of men.  But the Jewish leaders

refused to believe John the Baptist also.

      Why were the people of Israel listening to the scribes

and Pharisees who were in opposition to Jesus?  Why were

they not listening to the true shepherds of God who told

them the truth of God?

      Furthermore, there was Jesus, Himself, who had clearly

demonstrated to the people of Israel that, He is the Christ.

By the greatness of His miracles and by the great number of

His miracles He showed Himself to be the Christ.  He had

healed hundreds, perhaps thousands of people from all manner

of sickness and afflictions.  Down in verse 11, which is not

a part of our text today, Jesus will identify Himself, not

just as one of the shepherds, but as The Good Shepherd, the

greatest of all the shepherds.  For the people to continue

to follow the scribes and Pharisees was like following the

thieves instead of the Shepherd.

      In essence, Jesus was saying to that crowd of people,

"Why follow the thieves who climb over the wall and kill and

steal?  Why follow the spiritually blind guides?  Why follow

wicked men who rob and steal from both God and men?  Why

follow those who devour widows' houses?  Why not listen to

the voice of the true shepherds of God and believe what they

have said about the Jesus?  Why not believe what Jesus,

Himself, has said?  Why not accept the fact that He is the

Son of God, the Christ of God, the Savior of the world, as

He has said?


V.  What Jesus wants us to see about the world today


      Listen, this is somewhat the same situation which the

unsaved world faces today.  On the one hand the unsaved are

told by false religious leaders that Jesus is not the

Christ.  They say that He is not the virgin born Son of God.

They say that no man will ever get to heaven by repenting of

his sin and placing his trust in Jesus to save his soul.

One of them published a book in which he said that he

expects that some day they will find the bones of Jesus in a

grave.  They substitute all manner of false gospels for the

true gospel.  They say that one must work for his salvation.

      But, then on the other hand, God still has some true

shepherds, who tell lost souls that they must repent or

perish.  They proclaim that the lost must believe in Jesus

or remain forever lost.

      I am happy to be one of those people who still believes

the gospel of Jesus as it is set forth in the word of God.

I am happy to proclaim to every lost sinner that if he will

repent of his sin and trust in Jesus Christ to save his

soul, that he will make it to heaven.  I do not hesitate to

tell anyone, that if he will not trust in Jesus as his

Savior, that there is no way under the sun that he will make

it to heaven.




      But I say, "Don't trust in Jesus just because I tell you

to trust Jesus.  Believe in Him --- trust in Him ---because

the very word of God tells you to do it.  Believe the Bible!

Believe the word of God.  Place your faith in Jesus and let

Him save your soul.  If you trust in Jesus you will never

regret that you did.  But if you refuse to trust in Jesus,

you will forever regret that you didn't.