Jesus utilized stories in his teaching. The stories came from the familiar scenes of his listener’s lives. Often even his disciples, as in this case, missed the stories’ message. In John 10, He tells the story of a sheepfold. In the story of the sheepfold, Jesus speaks of one who is a thief, one who is genuine, and how the sheep know the difference.
Jesus talks about the thief. He is the one who is deceitful. His behaviour is sneaky because he is up to no good. His concern is for himself alone. He won’t use the door. He climbs around. The sheep flee from him. They are afraid. He brings harm to the sheep.
Then Jesus talks about the shepherd. When he comes to the door, he is let in. He is welcome, there is no deceit nor shadiness. Even His voice is familiar and He knows the sheep by their names. When He leads them out, they follow. Their shepherd is their protector.
The Sheep Know
Ah, the voice of the shepherd. Like the voice of the beloved in Songs of Solomon. “The voice of my beloved!” or, the voice of a mother to a child, known from before birth, is the voice of the Shepherd. It is intimate as when Jesus said, ‘Mary’ after His resurrection, revealing in an instance who He was. His voice speaks forth the qualities of the owner; compassion, peace, confidence, authority. Those who are His own know His voice and follow. In the story of the sheepfold, Jesus speaks of one who is a thief, one who is genuine, and how the sheep know the difference.