As we continue working our way through the Fourth Gospel we come today to chapter 10. Let me just say that the chapter break here is not helpful because 10:1-21 is really a commentary on the conflict of chapter 9.
In chapter 9 we have the healing of the man who was blind from birth. Yeshua healed him physically, and then as a result of the experiences of the blind man with the people, with his neighbors, with his parents, and particularly with the Pharisees, he was brought by Yeshua to the place where he confessed, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped Yeshua. It's a remarkable picture of a physical healing, which led to his spiritual healing.
The healed blind man has been roughly treated by the religious authorities, and even thrown out of the synagogue. Today, with our Western eyes, we find it hard to grasp the profound impact that being thrown out of synagogue would have had, but the reality then was that the person became an outsider, rejected by his or her own community.
Not once did the Jewish religious leaders rejoice over the amazing fact that this man, who was blind from birth, can now see, his eyes had been opened. Rather, they were more concerned that Yeshua had violated their man made legalistic Sabbath rules than they were about this man who had been miraculously healed.
So what Lazarus writes next, (chapter 10) then, is that many thieves and robbers destroy the sheep, (referring to the man who was blind) while the good shepherd leads his own out from the sheep pen and into his own flock. The thematic as well as the linguistic connections of these two chapters is strong.
John 10 draws heavily on the shepherd imagery, an imagery which we see in Scripture from beginning to end. This is the first time in the Gospel of John that the topic of shepherding is addressed. This text is the closest thing in the Fourth Gospel to a parable. It's more like an allegory or a symbolic illustration.
The first five verses of chapter 10 reflect common practices and understanding of shepherding in Palestine at that time. Shepherding was very common in the land of Israel. The main part of Judea is a central plateau, and it's very rocky, and it wasn't good for crops, and so it became the place where sheep would graze. From Bethel to Hebron is about 35 miles of plateau and maybe 15 to 17 miles wide. The ground is rough and stony. Grass was sparse, but that was where the sheep would normally graze.
Yeshua's audience understood shepherding, so He teaches them with an illustration or parable comparing Yahweh's relationship to His Covenant people with a shepherd's relationship to his sheep. In order to really understand what Yeshua is saying we need to have some understanding of sheep and shepherds.
Throughout the Tanakh we see that Yahweh has had a special love for shepherds. Who were some of the shepherds who were close to Yahweh? Do any come to mind? The Scriptures tell us that; Abel, son of Adam was a shepherd who "found favor with God" (Genesis 4). Abraham in Genesis 21 is described as a man with many herds of sheep. Jacob is a shepherd for his uncle Laban in Genesis 30. Joseph was shepherding his father Jacob's flocks in Genesis 37. Moses went from prince of Egypt to shepherd of Midian in Exodus 3. David was a shepherd of his father's flocks in 1 Samuel 16:11. Amos the Judean shepherd was God's prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel in Amos 1:1.
Now let me ask you this, Who was the most well-known Shepherd in the Tanakh? It was Yahweh! Yeshua's audience not only understood the agrarian reality of shepherding and caring for a flock, but they knew enough about the Tanakh to know that Yahweh Himself was presented as a Shepherd. Yahweh frequently compared His relationship with Israel to that of a Shepherd and His sheep.
The 23rd Psalms, which is traditionally attributed to King David, is probably the most beautiful literary expression of the comparison between a shepherd's care for his sheep and Yahweh's faithful, merciful love for His people:
A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalms 23:1-6 NASB
This Psalm gives thanks to God for His faithful love to the righteous, which is illustrated by the image of the "good shepherd" in verses 1-4.
This shepherd/sheep imagery is really not very helpful to us 21st century American Christians who know nothing about sheep. The more we understand about shepherds and sheep the more we will get out of this imagery.
In Weldon Keller's book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalms 23, he gives some very interesting insights into the habits of a flock sheep which can be compared to Yeshua's role as God's Supreme Shepherd of the New Covenant Church.
He tells us that: Sheep depend on the shepherd for their wellbeing. Sheep are sociable animals that travel together in a large flock but not too close together; they like their personal space. Sometimes sheep loose their connection to the flock and tend to stray, which can lead to disaster. Often sheep are unaware of the dangers of the world. At the beginning of the spring just before sheering when the streams and rivers are full and running deep the shepherd must keep the sheep away from swiftly moving water. Sometimes it is even necessary for the shepherd to dam up a portion of the stream so his animals can drink [Palms 23:2b "He leads me beside quiet waters…"]. If the shepherd doesn't protect them in this way the sheep, in their thirst, will wade out into the swiftly moving water and when their thick wool coats absorb too much water they will fall over and drown.
The sheep learn the sound of the voice of their shepherd so that when he calls to them they will come to him, but they will run from the voice of a stranger. In the same way that the shepherd understands his flock our Lord Yeshua, the Good Shepherd, knows our weaknesses as well as our strengths and needs. Notice what Mark tells us about Yeshua:
When Yeshua went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things. Mark 6:34 NASB
He felt compassion for them because sheep without a shepherd are a disaster. They panic, and they do not know where to go for food and water. They are constantly in danger.
As I said earlier, Yahweh frequently compared His relationship with Israel to that of a Shepherd and His sheep. Psalm 77:20 says, "You lead Your people like a flock." Psalm 79:13 says, "We Your people and the sheep of Your pastures will give thanks to You." Psalm 80:1 says, "Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock." Psalm 95 says, "He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand."
Yeshua's use of sheep imagery in John 10 has a strong background in the Tanakh. So let me say this again: Apart from understanding the Tanakh, you will never completely understand the New Testament. The writers of the New Testament all suppose that their readers understood the Tanakh. If we do not understand the language of the first three quarters of the Bible, we will never understand the last quarter—the New Testament.
Yeshua uses the imagery of the good shepherd (v. 11), which should be understood in the light of the passages in the Tanakh that criticize Israel's shepherds who have failed in their duty. It is likely that Yeshua was drawing upon Ezekiel 34 in His metaphorical use of sheep language. The background of Ezekiel 34 is especially important for John 10:1-18. Ezekiel described Israel as God's flock and the rulers as the shepherds. Rather than feeding the sheep, the rulers alternately ignore the flock and actually prey upon them instead of protecting them. As a result the flock is scattered and devoured by the wild animals. The false shepherds will be removed from their position of leadership, and God will again be the shepherd of His people. He will gather them and lead them to good pasture. He will appoint a shepherd over them from David's line and bring peace to the flock. Ezekiel 34 is a clear description of the way Yeshua portrayed Himself as the good shepherd:
Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? Ezekiel 34:1-2 NASB
Here Ezekiel is told to prophesy against the shepherds (priesthood) of Israel. In this passage the title "son of man" only identifies Ezekiel as a "son of Adam" 'a Semitic expression for a human being:
"You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. "Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. "They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered. "My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them."'" Ezekiel 34:3-6 NASB
In other words, the priesthood failed to "feed" the people spiritually, therefore, the people became weak in their faith, and some were even lost to the Covenant:
Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: "As I live," declares the Lord GOD, "surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock; therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them."'" Ezekiel 34:7-10 NASB
In verses 11-16 Yahweh makes three promises to His people. In verse 11 Yahweh promises that He will take care of His sheep:
For thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. "As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. Ezekiel 34:11-12 NASB
In verse 13 He promises to bring them back from where they have been scattered:
"I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. "I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. "I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 34:13-15 NASB
In verse 16 He promises to be a true shepherd to His people:
"I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment. Ezekiel 34:16 NASB
Does this verse sound familiar to you? Yeshua quotes this in His comments to Zacchaeus in Luke 19:
"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10 NASB
So Yahweh says in Ezekiel 34, "I will seek the lost…I will deliver My flock," then Yeshua comes along and says, "the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." By using this phrase, knowing the people knew the Scripture, Yeshua was saying to them, "I am the Yahweh in the flesh, Israel's shepherd savior." This is another strong declaration of Christ's deity, but you won't get it if you don't know the text He's quoting. Back to Ezekiel:
"Because you push with side and with shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns until you have scattered them abroad, therefore, I will deliver My flock, and they will no longer be a prey; and I will judge between one sheep and another. "Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd. "And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD have spoken. Ezekiel 34:21-24 NASB
God promised that the day will come when He will raise up the Messiah: "The Branch," from the line of King David, and He will reign as king uniting Israel and Judah. The Old Covenant people understood from this passage that this shepherd chosen by God to be the promised Messiah would come from the family of the great King David:
"I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. "I will make them and the places around My hill a blessing. And I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing. "Also the tree of the field will yield its fruit and the earth will yield its increase, and they will be secure on their land. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bars of their yoke and have delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. "They will no longer be a prey to the nations, and the beasts of the earth will not devour them; but they will live securely, and no one will make them afraid. "I will establish for them a renowned planting place, and they will not again be victims of famine in the land, and they will not endure the insults of the nations anymore. "Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people," declares the Lord GOD. "As for you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are men, and I am your God," declares the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 34:25-31 NASB
This prophecy was perfectly fulfilled in Yeshua of Nazareth, the son of David, the Good Shepherd when all the nations of the world were restored by the redeeming work of Christ on the cross and invited back into God's Covenant family.
Let's jump over to chapter 37:
"I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. "My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. "And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever."'" Ezekiel 37:26-28 NASB
How has the promise that Yahweh's sanctuary will be with His people forever fulfilled in Christ? He is the new Temple. The body of the risen Christ is the spiritual Temple from which the living waters of salvation flow (John 7:37-39; 19:34; Revelation chapter 22). Yeshua Himself and His Body, the Church, are the true Temple! We are sacred space, we are the dwelling place of Yahweh!
If this is the background of Yeshua's teaching in John 10, then in the context of Yeshua's ministry the thieves and robbers are the religious leaders who are more interested in fleecing the sheep than in guiding, nurturing, and guarding them. Yeshua looks upon the Pharisees before Him as the kind of shepherds Ezekiel condemned.
We see this shepherd/sheep imagery all through the Tanakh and we also see it throughout the New Testament. Who are the first men to come and worship the Christ Child? It's the shepherds from the fields around Bethlehem. It was in Bethlehem that scholars believe the lambs for the daily sacrifice were kept. These shepherds may have been the very shepherds who kept the flocks for the daily sacrifice to Yahweh.
Throughout the New Testament, there are a number of places where Yeshua is referred to as that one Shepherd. The best known is the parable of the Lost Sheep found in Matthew 18:12-14 and Luke 15:3-7 where Yeshua is the Shepherd who will risk His life to seek and save the straying sheep. Yeshua also described His disciples as sheep. In Mark 14:27 he quoted Zechariah 13:7, "Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered." It is an obvious reference to Himself as the shepherd and to the disciples as the sheep. Luke 12:32 portrays Yeshua calling the disciples, "Little flock." First Peter 2:25, calls the Lord Yeshua "the Shepherd of our souls." And the writer of Hebrews in 13:20 in that great closing benediction says, "He is the great Shepherd of the sheep."
Alright with that as a background let's look at our text:
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. John 10:1 NASB
"Truly, truly, I say to you"—J. H. Bernard maintained that the double "amen" never introduces a totally new topic in the Fourth Gospel. There is no new audience mentioned or suggested; so it seems evident that Yeshua is continuing His remarks to the Pharisees with whom He had been speaking in 9:41. The NIV puts it this way:
"Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. John 10:1 NIV
By identifying Yeshua's hearers as Pharisees, the NIV rightly recognizes that Yeshua is continuing to speak to those whom He addressed in 9:40-41. So it's the same day, the same scene, the same people, and Yeshua responding to the same event. In this context, the healed blind man is one of the sheep who hears Yeshua' voice; those who expelled Him from the synagogue are compared to thieves, robbers and wolves; and Yeshua is the good shepherd.
So the response of the sheep is like the response of the blind man in John chapter 9. And the care of the shepherd for the sheep, referred to in chapter 10, is like the care of the Lord Yeshua for the blind man for when he was thrown out of the synagogue, according to verse 35 we read:Yeshua heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" He answered, "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?" John 9:35-36 NASB
And Yeshua brought him to faith in Himself. So what we have then in chapter 10 is an allegorical or symbolic picture of the event of chapter 9 with further suggestions as to the meaning of what had happened.
"Fold of the sheep"—these details would be familiar to Lazarus' readers. But not so much for us. Many of you, like me, grew up in the city and don't know anything about sheep or shepherding. The sheep are kept in a fold, a sheep pen. There were several types of sheepfolds in use in Palestine. There were large sheepfolds for which a door-keeper was employed, and in which a number of shepherds kept their flocks. This was a courtyard surrounded by a stone wall. Each shepherd would come in the morning and call his own sheep by name; only his sheep would come out at his call. It is this type of fold that Yeshua has in mind in verses 1-6.
There were also small, one-shepherd sheepfolds, with no doorkeeper; in these the shepherd himself lay and slept in the doorway. Thus the shepherd is also the door. Yeshua thus combines the dual images of door/gate and shepherd in his own person.
It seems clear that the "sheepfold" here represents Judaism. Now the Lord Yeshua came with a ministry to the nation Israel. Notice what He says in:But He answered and said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Matthew 15:24 NASB
So the "fold of the sheep" is Judaism.
"He who does not enter by the door"—the "door" represented the lawful way of entrance into Judaism for the shepherd. It seems best to see the door as the Messianic office according to the Tanakh. It is through the door, the Messianic office, that one enters in order to have authority over the sheep.
"But climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber"—the thieves and robbers here and the stranger, and the hireling as I have already mentioned clearly refer to the Jewish religious leaders who were unfaithful to God, and were seeking to harm His sheep for personal gain (cf. 9:41).
The Pharisees are the thieves and robbers. They got to their positions of shepherd-like leadership without the blessing of the Gatekeeper. They are not faithful shepherds. They are the "stranger" in verse 5. They are the ones who climb over the wall instead of going through the gate:"But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. John 10:2 NASB
The true shepherd, the good shepherd is the one who enters through the door. The door is the Messianic office as described in the Tanakh. Only the shepherd that enters through the door has authority over the sheep:"To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:3 NASB
"The doorkeeper opens"—the shepherds would put their sheep in the fold and then go and sleep after a day in the fields, and a hired hand (verse 1) calls them "a hired hand, and not a shepherd"—that's the same as the doorkeeper in verse 3, and his job was to close the door at night when all the sheep were in and the shepherds went to their place of rest.
Hall Harris writes, "There have been many attempts to identify the doorkeeper, none of which are convincing. It seems more likely that there are some details in this parable which are there for the sake of the story, necessary as parts of the overall picture but without symbolic significance." I tend to agree with him. But many commentators seem to think the doorkeeper is John the Baptizer.
"The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out"—the sheep here represent the elect among Israel. This pictures Yeshua calling every individual, whom the Father had given Him, to follow Him out from the non-elect Jews. In chapter one of this Gospel, Lazarus says:He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:11-13 NASB
Three different expressions of human reproduction, "of bloods," "will of the flesh," and "will of man," are denied as effective in creating children of God. Rather the children of God are those who are born of (the Greek literally has out of) God. The sheep are born of God. In John chapter 6 and verse 37 the Lord Yeshua Himself said:"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. John 6:37 NASB
The sheep are only those that are given by the Father to the Son. Verse 65 says:And He was saying, "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father." John 6:65 NASB
So the sheep were the elect from the nation Israel given to the Lord Yeshua. In John 8 and verse 47 Yeshua said:"He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God." John 8:47 NASB
The one who is of God hears the words of God. Yeshua said, "My sheep hear my voice." So they are the elect of the nation Israel. In chapter 10 in verse 26 Yeshua will say:"But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; John 10:26-27 NASB
What you must see here is that Yeshua makes a division in mankind. There are those who are His sheep and those who are not His sheep. Yeshua is not a Universalists.
Yeshua is calling His elect out of the nation Israel. Paul says:But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; Romans 9:6 NASB
For even in the nation Israel there were some who were elect, and there were some who were lost. So Yeshua calls His true sheep out from among the false sheep of the nation of Judah. All the covenant people were not the true people of God. One's faith, not lineage, determines one's future! Faith is personal, not national.
"He calls His own sheep by name"—Palestinian shepherds, according to Bernard, frequently have pet names for their favorite sheep based on individual characteristics: "Long-ears," "White nose," "Blackie," etc. The sheep recognize their shepherd's voice and respond to his call.
The shepherd always knew his own because he examined them every day and he spent the whole waking day with them. He knew every mark on every one of them. He knew them from top to bottom, back to front.
That he calls his own sheep presupposes that several flocks are in the fold; the shepherd calls out his own. So there are obviously some in the sheepfold who do not belong to the good shepherd. Near-Eastern shepherds have been known to stand at different spots outside the enclosure and sound out their own peculiar calls, and their own sheep responding and gathering around their shepherd.
Yeshua comes to the sheep pen of Judaism, and calls His own sheep out individually to constitute His own messianic flock. The assumption is that they are in some way His before He calls them.
"He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out"—do you see the doctrine in this analogy? This is Divine sovereignty, irresistible grace, effectual calling, this is all theological. What is our Lord saying here? He's giving us the theology of salvation. The good Shepherd has already chosen His sheep. He's already named them. He knows who they are. He possesses full authority and sole authority to come into Judaism and into the nations of the world and the countries of the world to find His sheep. He knows them. He calls them by name. They recognize His voice. They follow Him. And they will not follow a stranger."When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:4 NASB
"Puts forth"—here is ekballo, which according to Strongs, means, "to eject (literally or figuratively):— bring forth, cast (forth, out), drive (out), expel, leave, pluck (pull, take, thrust) out, put forth (out), send away (forth, out)." Yeshua forcefully takes "all His own" there are no elect left behind.
"He goes ahead of them"—unlike Western shepherds who drive the sheep, often using a sheep dog, the shepherds of the Near East, both now and in Yeshua's day, lead their flocks, their voice calling them on. The shepherd goes ahead of them to make the pathway, to clear the danger, to find the water, the pasture, the provision. This is a security, protection, and provision.
In this verse we see that Christ is leading those who recognize Him as the Messiah to follow Him out of the Old Covenant and into the New. This action is fulfilling the prophecy of Yahweh's prophet Micah:"I will surely assemble all of you, Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel. I will put them together like sheep in the fold; Like a flock in the midst of its pasture They will be noisy with men. "The breaker goes up before them; They break out, pass through the gate and go out by it. So their king goes on before them, And the LORD at their head." Micah 2:12-13 NASB
The Lord Yeshua who is Yahweh is leading His flock into the New Covenant:"A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers." John 10:5 NASB
There's a double negative, ou me, "a stranger they absolutely will not follow, but will flee." Matthew 24:24 says that "false Christs and false prophets, if it were possible, would deceive the elect." But it's not possible!
The sheep in 10:4-5 will not follow a stranger because they do not know his voice, so the man born blind refused to listen to the Pharisees, but turned to Yeshua, an illustration of the sheep who recognize the voice of their true master.
This should be an encouragement to those who share the Gospel, all those who belong to God, those who belong to the true shepherd, they will hear His voice, and they will follow Him.This figure of speech Yeshua spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them. John 10:6 NASB
This is not the normal term translated "parable" (parabole), but it comes from the same root (paroimian). This form is found only here and in John 16:25,29 and 2 Pet. 2:22. Although it is a different form, it seems to be very similar with the more common term "parable" (used in the Synoptic Gospels). Both words can refer to an extraordinarily wide variety of literary forms, including proverbs, parables, maxims, similes, allegories, fables, riddles, narratives embodying certain truths.
"But they did not understand"—the audience misses the symbolism of the parable. This reference to "they" brings us back to the question of the audience. The Jewish leaders of chapter 9 form that audience. They could hardly have failed to understand the relationship between shepherds and sheep, which was so common in their culture. Nevertheless they didn't grasp Yeshua's analogy of Himself as Israel's true Shepherd.
So the point of verses 1-6 is that Yeshua is gathering a flock, a people, out from the fold of Israel. "He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out" Yeshua is also accusing those Jewish religious leaders of being false shepherds. They are the thieves and robbers mentioned in verse 1. He is the shepherd whose voice the sheep follow. They are the strangers —the rustlers who care nothing for the sheep but only for the profit they can make for themselves from the sheep.
This story is a picture of divine sovereignty, "He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out" Yeshua is the Sovereign Shepherd. He call His own sheep out of darkness into the Light.