Verily, verily - See the notes at John 3:3.
I say unto you - Some have supposed that what follows here was delivered on some other occasion than the one mentioned in the last chapter; but the expression verily, verily, is one which is not used at the commencement of a discourse, and the discourse itself seems to be a continuation of what was said before. The Pharisees professed to be the guides or shepherds of the people. Jesus, in the close of the last chapter, had charged them with being blind, and of course of being unqualified to lead the people. He proceeds here to state the character of a true shepherd, to show what was a hireling, and to declare that he was the true shepherd and guide of his people. This is called John 10:6 a parable, and it is an eminently beautiful illustration of the office of the Messiah, drawn from an employment well known in Judea. The Messiah was predicted under the image of a shepherd. Ezekiel 34:23; Ezekiel 37:24; Zechariah 13:7. Hence, at the close of the discourse they asked him whether he were the Messiah, John 10:24.
Into the sheepfold - The sheepfold was an inclosure made in fields where the sheep were collected by night to defend them from robbers, wolves, etc. It was not commonly covered, as the seasons in Judea were mild. By the figure here we are to understand the Jewish people, or the church of God, which is often likened to a flock, Ezek. 34:1-19; Jeremiah 23:1-4; Zechariah 13:1-9. By the door, here, is meant the Lord Jesus Christ, John 10:7, John 10:9. He is "the way, the truth, and the life," John 14:6. And, as the only proper way of entering the fold was by the door, so the only way of entering the church of God is by believing on him and obeying his commandments. The particular application of this place, however, is to religious teachers, who cannot enter properly on the duties of teaching and guarding the flock except by the Lord Jesus that is, in the way which he has appointed. The Pharisees claimed to be pastors, but not under his appointment. They entered some other way. The true pastors of the church are those who enter by the influences of the Spirit of Jesus, and in the manner which he has appointed.
Some other way - Either at a window or over the wall.
A thief - One who silently and secretly takes away the property of another.
A robber - One who does it by violence or bloodshed. Jesus here designates those pastors or ministers of religion who are influenced not by love to him, but who seek the office from ambition, or the love of power, or wealth, or ease; who come, not to promote the welfare of the church, but to promote their own interests. Alas! in all churches there have been many - many who for no better ends have sought the pastoral office. To all such Jesus gives the names of thieves and robbers.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing John 10:1:
1 Corinthians 9:7
1 Peter 2:25
1 Peter 5:2
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