John 10:2
But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
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(2) But he that entereth in by the door.—See Notes on John 10:7-9.

Is the shepherd of the sheep.—Better, is a shepherd of the sheep. The word here (comp. John 10:12) simply characterises him that entereth by the door as a shepherd, in opposition to the robber who climbeth over the fence.

-2John 10:16 of this chapter finds the commencement of its fulfilment in this mission. The appointment of a new body of disciples, whose very number is symbolical of a wider work, was the first step in the bringing in of the “other sheep.” The Twelve answered to the number of the tribes of Israel; but the Seventy represent the nations of the world. The directions for this work to each body are nearly identical, but the restrictions laid upon the Twelve are not laid upon the Seventy.

John 10:2-5. He that entereth in by the door is the shepherd, &c. — “This mode of speaking, with us, conveys the notion that the shepherd is the only person who enters by the door; yet the door-keeper, and the sheep themselves, enter also the same way. The original expression is manifestly intended to denote the constant, not the peculiar, use which the shepherd makes of the door, as opposed to the constant use of thieves and robbers, to force their entrance by breaking or climbing over the fence. The comparison is made, not to the folds used by the common people in remote parts of the country, but to those belonging to the rich in the neighbourhood of a populous city, where the walls and other fences need to be stronger, and the entrance more carefully kept, on account of the greater danger from thieves.” — Campbell. To him the porter openeth — As the shepherd will always choose to enter in by that which is the regular appointed way, so, as soon as he approaches, the door-keeper opens the fold; that is, God in his providence, and by the influence of his Spirit, makes way for such a one to exercise his ministry among his people, and gives success to it. For as it is not unworthy of Christ to be styled the door, by which both the sheep and the true pastors enter, so neither is it unworthy of God the Father to be styled the door-keeper. See Acts 14:27; and Acts 16:14; Colossians 4:3; Revelation 3:8. It was supposed by Sir Isaac Newton, that as the words were spoken near the temple, where sheep were kept in folds to be sold for sacrifices, Christ here alludes to what was peculiar in those folds; that as they were kept locked, they not only excluded the thief, but the shepherd, till the door-keeper opened them. “But I cannot think,” says Dr. Doddridge, “whatever occasion Christ might take from the sight of sheep to represent his people under that image, and himself as a shepherd, he would describe them like sheep shut up in a pen to be sold for sacrifice: nor does the shepherd’s leading them out, &c., agree with this circumstance. In countries where there were so many savage beasts, it might be ordinarily necessary to have the folds better secured than among us; and the chief shepherd might often leave a servant to watch them while thus shut up, and come himself to lead them out to pasture in the morning.” And the sheep hear his voice — The people of God, knowing him to be a true pastor, hearken unto him. All the circumstances here mentioned exactly agree with the customs of the ancient eastern shepherds. They called their sheep by name, went before them, and the sheep followed them. So real Christians hear, attend to, understand, and obey the voice of a shepherd whom Christ hath sent: and he counteth them his own, dearer than any friend or brother; calleth them by name — That is, instructs, advises, directs, encourages each by name, and leadeth them out in the paths of righteousness, beside the waters of comfort. And when he putteth forth his own sheep — Leads them out into the pastures of the ordinances, invites them to the enjoyment of the privileges, and urges them to the practice of the duties of true Christianity; he goeth before them — In all these particulars, and in all the ways of God, teaching them in every point by example, as well as by precept; and the sheep follow him — They tread in his steps; for they know his voice — Having the witness in themselves, that his words are the truth, the wisdom, and the power of God. Reader, art thou a shepherd of souls? Then answer to God: is it thus with thee and thy flock? And a stranger will they not follow — One whom Christ hath not sent, who does not answer the preceding description. Him they will not follow; and who can constrain them to it? But will flee from him — As from the plague. For they know not the voice of strangers — They cannot relish it. It is harsh and grating to them. They find nothing of God therein. In other words, as sheep will not follow a strange shepherd, so the people of God will not hearken to false teachers, or to such as do not declare, plainly, fully, and with a divine unction, the very word of the truth of the gospel: but will avoid them, for they can easily distinguish them from the true messengers of God by their fruits, that is, by their doctrine and practice, and the inefficacy of their preaching to convert, sanctify, and save the souls of men.

10:1-5 Here is a parable or similitude, taken from the customs of the East, in the management of sheep. Men, as creatures depending on their Creator, are called the sheep of his pasture. The church of God in the world is as a sheep-fold, exposed to deceivers and persecutors. The great Shepherd of the sheep knows all that are his, guards them by his providence, guides them by his Spirit and word, and goes before them, as the Eastern shepherds went before their sheep, to set them in the way of his steps. Ministers must serve the sheep in their spiritual concerns. The Spirit of Christ will set before them an open door. The sheep of Christ will observe their Shepherd, and be cautious and shy of strangers, who would draw them from faith in him to fancies about him.He that entereth by the door - This was the way in which a shepherd had access to his flock. In John 10:7 Jesus says he is the door. In this place he refers to those who by him - that is, in accordance with his spirit and law become ministers of religion.

Is the shepherd of the sheep - Christ does not here refer to himself, for he is the way or door by which others enter; but he refers to all the ministers of the gospel who have access to the church by him. In the original, the article "the" is missing before the word shepherd - "is a shepherd." By his entering in this manner he shows that he is a shepherd one who cares for his flock, and does not come to kill and destroy.

2. he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep—a true, divinely recognized shepherd. As it is amongst men, the true shepherd goes into the sheepfold by the door; so it is in the church of God. He that taketh not the honour of governing the church to himself, but being called of God, as Aaron was, he is the shepherd of the sheep. This very argument the apostle useth to prove Christ to be the true High Priest, Hebrews 5:4,5, because he glorified not himself to be made a High Priest, but was made one by him who said unto him, Psalm 110:4, (quoted there also, John 10:6), Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. God (whose the church is, called his heritage, his peculiar people, & c.) was the Door, by which Christ, the chief Shepherd, entered into the flock; he made him the Head of the church. Ephesians 5:23. For this he is said to be sent; and often makes himself known to us under the notion of him whom the Father hath sent. And the under shepherds must also derive from Christ: as the Father’s will in sending Christ was his door, so the will of Christ in sending others is their door; that is, their only true way of entering upon the charge of the flock of Christ. As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you, John 20:21. There is a double sending; the one is extraordinary, of which mission Christ speaketh to his apostles in that place; thus the apostles and first ministers of the gospel were sent; Christ breathed on them, and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost, John 20:22: and there was yet a fuller sending of these first shepherds, in the days of Pentecost, Acts 2:17. And there is a more ordinary sending, as to which God revealed his will, 2 Timothy 2:2, The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others. Thus the apostles, Acts 14:23, did themselves ordain elders in every church. And Paul for this purpose left Titus in Crete, to set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, Titus 1:5. Whosoever entereth into any place in the church, for the feeding and governing of it, that way which God hath directed in his word, he entereth in by the door, he is the true shepherd. Concerning Christ’s title, and his way of entrance, and the first preachers of the gospel, immediately sent by Christ, and declared to be sent by the effusion of the Spirit in the days of Pentecost, there can be no question made by any who believeth the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. This text declares, that whosoever cometh into the church with right, and as a true shepherd to it, must come in at the door, by a call from God, (as Christ was sent), or from Christ; either by an extraordinary mission, or in such a method and order as Christ hath in his word directed, either from his own month, or by the mouths of his apostles, whom he, ascending up into heaven, left in the first charge of his church. This is that which every one ought in the first place to look after. We shall observe in God’s whole course with his church, that in the corruption of the state of the church, when it was eminently deviated from the rule he had set, he sent some by an extraordinary mission. Such were the prophets, whose writings make up a part of Scripture. Such were the apostles, and first ministers of the gospel. Such, we say, were our first reformers in Germany, and other parts: nor is it any prejudice to it, that they were able to work no miracles; we read of no miracles wrought by the prophets of old, unless by two or three of them. Their faithful declaring the will of God, and calling men back to the plain law of God in a time when the generality were obviously departed from it; together with their spirit of courage and boldness in their work, was evidence enough that God had sent them. But this text only declareth this general truth, That every true shepherd coming into the church, must come in the right way, by the door. So the great Shepherd of the sheep did, being sent by his Father, whose the church is, to take care of it: so must all inferior shepherds do, by him whom God the Father hath made the door; according to whose directions all the affairs of the church must be ordered.

But he that entereth in by the door,.... With a divine commission, and by a divine authority, who comes not of himself, but is sent; does not take the honour to himself, or thrust in himself, and assume an office to himself, but is called unto it, and invested in it, he

is the shepherd of the sheep; by whom Christ means himself, as is evident from John 10:11, whose the sheep are, and who takes care of them, and feeds them, as a shepherd does his flock; and which holds true of any under shepherd, having his mission and commission, and deriving his authority from Christ.

But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
John 10:2-3. Ποιμήν] Shepherd, without article qualitatively; it characterizes such a one, not specially as the owner (the antithesis to the hireling first appears in John 10:12), but in general, in opposition to the robber.

ὁ θυρωρὸς ἀνοίγει] belongs to the description of the legitimate mode of entering, and is not intended to have any special explanation; for which reason also no further notice is taken of it in John 10:7-8. It must not, therefore, be explained either of God (Calvin, Maldonatus, Bengel, Tholuck, Ewald, Hengstenberg, following John 6:44 f.); or of the Holy Spirit, Acts 13:2 (Theodoret, Heracleon, Ruperti, Aretius, Corn. a Lapide, and several others, also Lange); or of Christ (Cyril, Augustine); or of Moses (Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Euth. Zigabenus, Luther, following Deuteronomy 18:15); or of John the Baptist (Godet, after John 1:7). He enters into the fold, and the sheep hear His voice (His call, His address, His appeal); they listen to it as to the voice which is known to them (comp. John 10:4). Comp. the shepherd’s cry to his flock, “σίττα,” in Theocr. iv. 46, viii. 69.

τὰ πρόβατα] are the sheep in the fold generally. It was common for several flocks to pass the night in one fold; and their shepherds, because they come every morning to lead out the individual flocks, are known to all the sheep in the fold. On the contrary, τὰ ἴδια πρόβατα are the sheep which belong to the special flock of him who has entered;[60] these he calls κατʼ ὄνομα, i.e. not merely ὀνομαστί (that would be merely ὄνομα, or ὀνόματι, or ἐπʼ ὀνόματος, Polyb. 5. 35. 2, 11. 15. 1), but distributively—by their names, each by its name, ἐκ τῆς εἰς ἕκαστον ἄκρας φροντίδος, Euth. Zigabenus. To give to the individual animals of their flock a name was not an unusual custom among the shepherds of ancient times. See Interpp. ad Theocr. 5. 101; Pricaeus on the passage. In Lange’s view (Leben Jesu, II. p. 955) the ἴδια πρόβ. are the favourite sheep (image of the elect), the bellwethers, which are followed by the whole flock (τὰ πρόβατα, John 10:4). This is incorrect; for, on the one hand, ἴδια alone would not sufficiently support this notion (comp. John 10:12); and on the other, ἔμπροσθεν πορεύεται and ἀκολουθεῖ, John 10:4, are so completely correlate, that αὐτῶν and τὰ πρόβατα must necessarily be the same: at all events, αὐτοῖς must otherwise have been used instead of αὐτῷ, John 10:4.

ἐξάγει] to pasture, John 10:9-10. Looking back to John 9:34; John 9:22, Godet imports into the words the idea of separation from the old theocracy, which is devoted to ruin.[61] Such a thought is contained neither in the words (Pollux, i. 250) nor in the context.

[60] Into the beautiful general figure of τὰ πρόβατα, the word ἴδια introduces a special, individual element, which makes it all the richer and more telling. It has been incorrectly maintained (by Bengel, Luthardt, Hengstenberg, and others), that although ἰδία is first associated with πρόβατα when it occurs for the second time, the πρόβατα which hear must necessarily be the same as those which are afterwards described as τὰ ἴδια πρόβατα. These latter are no doubt among the πρόβατα which hear; but it is only τὰ ἴδια that the shepherd calls by name, and so forth. Thus the particular Church belongs to the Universal.

[61] Similarly even Luther: “It denotes the Christian freedom from the law and judgment.”

John 10:2. On the other hand, ὁ δὲ εἰσερχόμενοςπροβάτων, “but he that entereth by the door is shepherd of the sheep”. The shepherd is known by his using the legitimate mode of entrance. What that is, He does not here explicitly state. The shepherd is further recognised by his treatment of the sheep, τὰ ἴδια πρόβατα καλεῖ [better φωνεῖ] κατʼ ὄνομα, “his own sheep he calls by name”. ἴδια perhaps as distinguished from others in the same fold; perhaps merely a strong possessive. As we have names for horses, dogs, cows, so the Eastern shepherds for their sheep. [“Many of the sheep have particular names,” Van Lennep, Bible Lands, i. 189. It was also a Greek custom to name sheep, and Wetstein quotes from Longus, ὁ δὲ Δάφνις ἐκάλεσέ τινας αὐτῶν ὀνομαστί]—ὅταναὐτοῦ. When he has put all his own out of the fold, they follow him, because they know his voice: the shepherd walking in front as is still the custom in the East. This method cannot be adopted by strangers “because the sheep know not the voice of strangers”. “There is a story of a Scotch traveller who changed clothes with a Jerusalem shepherd and tried to lead the sheep; but the sheep followed the shepherd’s voice and not his clothes.” Plummer. So that the shepherd’s claim is justified not only by his method of entrance but by his Knowledge of the names of the individual sheep and by their knowledge of him and confidence in him. The different methods are illustrated in Andrewes and Laud, the former saying “Our guiding must be mild and gentle, else it is not duxisti, but traxisti, drawing and driving and no leading”; the latter, of whom it was said that he “would never convince an opponent if he could suppress him”. See Ottley’s Andrewes, 159.

2. is the shepherd of the sheep] Better, is a shepherd of the sheep. There is more than one flock in the fold, and therefore more than one shepherd to visit the fold. The Good Shepherd has not yet appeared in the allegory. The allegory indeed is two-fold; in the first part (1–5), which is repeated (7–9), Christ is the Door of the fold; in the second part (11–18) He is the Shepherd; John 10:10 forming a link between the two parts.

John 10:2. Ὁ δὲ εἰσερχόμενος, but he who enters) through Christ: John 10:9, “The door.”

Verse 2. - But he that enters in by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. Let him be who he may, Pharisee or priest, prophet or king, pastor or evangelist, unless he approach the sheep by the right "way" he demeans and condemns himself. If he come by the door into the fold, he may be so far presumably a shepherd. One fold might contain several flocks, and a shepherd might lead these flocks into different enclosures according to his wisdom and care for his sheep. Neander, Godet, and Watkins think it possible that the whole imagery may have been borrowed from the eye. The shepherds towards evening were probably gathering their scattered flocks, according to Oriental custom, into their well-known enclosures, and Jesus with his audience might have seen them doing it if they gazed out from the courts of the temple over the neighboring hills (see also Thomson, 'The Land and the Book,' 1:301, a passage which provides an admirable commentary on this parable). There is no absolute need that the customary and well-known habit of the country-side should have been visible at the moment. The abundantly attested practice furnished to his hearers all needful corroboration. The deeper significance of the passage lies in the prophetic symbolism of Jeremiah 23:1-4; Isaiah 40:11; Psalm 23:1-3; Psalm 78:52; Numbers 27:17; Ezekiel 34:23, 31; Ezekiel 37:24. Jehovah was the Shepherd of Israel (Psalm 80:1), and he would appoint once more in their Messiah-King a David, who should be his gracious Representative and Agent. All these representations were gathered up in Christ's wonderful parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7). Thoma endeavors to credit the author of the Gospel with this ideal picture of the contrast between the true and false shepherd. John 10:2The shepherd (ποιμήν)

Better, a shepherd. It is the character rather than the person that is contemplated.

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