1 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by
the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.
8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Without a doubt John 10:10 is one of the most misinterpreted and wrongly
taught scriptures in all the Bible.This passage is not referring to
Satan as is commonly preached in modern evangelical churches, especially
by the prosperity preachers. John 10 is a continuation of the events
which began in chapter 9. Jesus is speaking both to, and of, the
pharisees. This is the overall context;chapters 9 and 10 go together.
John chapter 10 contains three references by the Lord to the "thief".
Looking at 10:1,the thief is a MAN who sneaks into the sheep pen by
another way other than through the door/gate. That man is declared to be
a thief and a robber.
The gate is guarded by the gatekeeper. The gate keeper opens the way to
the true shepherd alone, and the sheep will only follow the voice of the
true shepherd (verses 2 and 3). The gatekeeper and the flock give
recognition to the true shepherd only. This then leads to the conclusion
that the thief is not the shepherd of these sheep and indeed never was.
In 10:8,the Lord declares that ALL who came before Him are thieves and robbers.
By His using the plural form,especially the use of the word "all", Jesus
is now revealing that this is not restricted to merely one man, but
that there were, and are many thieves and robbers. In fact he says all
that came before Him ar thieves and robbers. Fortunately the sheep did
not listen to them.
Verse 10 gets to the heart of the matter. The one who is a thief seeks
only to plunder, murder, and pillage. Thieves desire the acquisition of
everything they can get their hands on,wealth,fame,power over others,
etc etc. They will wreak destruction and all forms of havoc to obtain
The words of Christ stand in stark opposition to these men;
"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."The true
shepherd is the life giver. He leads the sheep to good pastures. (Psalm
23) The thieves seek only to gather the sheep to themselves. Recall
that this monologue began immediately after the healing of the man blind
from birth. The pharisees did everything they could to dismiss and
detract from the miraculous restoration of sight to this man, and most
especially the declaration of belief unto salvation by this man. (John
The thief never speaks the truth of the Word which leads to Christ the true and good shepherd.
(John 5:39-40;Ezekiel 34)Since the thief does not speak the truth of the
Word,he does not speak with the voice of the true shepherd. This is why
the sheep do not follow them as they (the sheep) do not recognize them
as having proceeded from the Lord, nor pointing the way to the Lord. The
Lord's sheep recognize the shepherd who speaks with the Lord's voice.
The primary point here is that the reference to the thief in this
chapter is dealing with a completely different issue other than
confrontation with Satan. In fact, such a trite interpretation actually
"dumbs down" what the Lord would reveal to us.
Soli Deo Gloria