This story is an allegory. The Greek word translated parable in the synoptic gospels is not used in John. The KJV translates the Greek word PAROIMIAN as parable, but the term is made up of two Greek words. One means "along side" or "beside" and the other means "way". So, this is a story along side of a story. Most commentators say it means allegory. Let us look at this story and understand what the Good Shepherd wanted us to know.
Walter Martin is an expert in dealing with cults. On one occasion he went to the headquarters of the organization called Jehovah Witnesses. He did research there and called to the attention of one of the vice-presidents some major errors. This man immediately rejected Dr. Martins findings, but privately began to study. He then approached other leaders about the major contradictions. Basically, he got an answer which said, "Who cares, we are selling lots of literature and making good money."
Because of this encounter and the continuing leadership of God's Spirit this man left the Jehovah Witnesses and became a born again Christian. You can know more about him through his book Jehovah Witness: A Non-Profit Making Organization.
The Good Shepherd tells us hirelings don't care about salvation or the sheep after they are save. Please notice point two.
They try to come some other way. In verse eight the indication is that everyone who ever came to Jesus, "the Door", was a thief or robber. You and I need to recognize we came in sin and with sin. We had nothing of merit from which to be accepted. The sad thing is, anyone who fails to realize this, progresses downward. Notice verse 10 shows the thief steal, kills and destroys. There is evolution, but its downward and away from God.
I heard Norman Vincent Peale on a talk show. He was asked if he thought only believers in Christ would go to heaven. He said, "No of course not, God's love was broad enough to include many others." The awards Dr. Peale has received would fill several pages. He has helped multitudes of people. I personally have been inspired by some of his writings. But, his theology about salvation is the position of a thief and robber. It steals, kills and destroys.
Some would be appalled at my statement. But, it agrees with the words of Jesus. We need to be more concerned over what the Lord thinks about our theology and less concerned over what man thinks. The Good Shepherd says there is a doorway of salvation or a thief and robber attempt at finding another way. Let's take the way of the door for it is Jesus. Notice the next point.
In verses 14 & 27, He tells us he knows His sheep. That is both a comforting thought and a sobering one. He knows us ion our strengths and weakness. Knowing us He loved us. It should motivate us to more dedication and commitment. He tells us in verse 16, that He is the only shepherd of the flock. He also says there are many folds, but only one flock. There is a Jewish flock and a Gentile flock. There may be flocks by many different titles, but if they acknowledge Jesus as Lord they are all of the same flock.
The Lord talks to his sheep, they hear Him and know His voice (v.27). How long since you have heard from the Lord? Do we recognize His voice? It is possible to walk with Him and know His desires for our life. The Good Shepherd gives to the sheep (vv.10 & 28). His gifts can not be taken away. The word translated "snatch" in verses 12 and 28 have the same Greek root.
But, notice the contrast. The wolf can snatch away from the hireling, but not from the Good Shepherd. His gifts are eternal. In verse 30, Jesus made a further claim of deity. He says, "I and my Father are one." No wonder he is the Good Shepherd.
As a young minister, I rode to a conference with several other preachers. These were only acquaintances of mine. They talked about much including a minister who spoke regularly about what the Lord told him to do. One of these ministers said, "That bothers me because the Lord has never told me to do anything."
The Good Shepherd states that He talks with His sheep. Right now if
you could audibly talk to Jesus what would you talk about? I wonder if
those who carried on the best conversations would not be those who day
by day have a regular and sweet fellowship with Him. He is the Good Shepherd.
Notice point four.
Then in verse 24, this group refuses to believe even though shown a
miracle. We might ask why didn't Jesus just tell them in very certain words
who He was. The answer is: He knew what they would do and it was not time
for His crucifixion. Look at Mark 14: 61-65. When it was time, Jesus answered
clearly. But, which is easier to do, say you are Messiah or give a blind
man sight? The works give credit to the words.
Probably the most obvious trait of sheep is their willingness to follow.
In verse 27, the Lord brags on His sheep and says, ":They follow me." Tonight
may be the night you make or renew your commitment to the Good Shepherd.
Do it without hesitation.